April 8, 2021, 0 Comments
Preparing to Bring Employees Back to the Office
With more people getting vaccinated and the US economy coming back to life, companies are working on plans to reopen offices sometime in 2021. Most people have enjoyed working from home, even though it meant juggling parenting duties while kids learned virtually, sharing Internet bandwidth, and being around your family 24/7.
A January 2021 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 83% of employers say remote work has been successful for their company. While COVID-19 did present work challenges, a survey by Yoh found that 39% of Americans employed last year have found new ways to be more flexible and adaptable in their jobs, 73% felt they had not grown professionally as a result of working from home. That summarizes the good news and bad news.
The Economy is Rebounding
The economic barometers are encouraging. The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) index of service businesses rose to 63.7 last month from 55.3, according to a press release on April 5, 2021. The level surpasses the previous record set in October 2018 and implies the fastest expansion rate since data collection began in 1997. The reading also beat all estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
The Institute for Supply Management’s measure of business activity and production also showed a gain to 69.4 from 55.5 throughout last month. The data affirms hope that the economy is growing, and the ISM’s report suggests the labor market’s rebound will continue into the summer. The institute’s employment gauge rose to 57.2 in March from 52.7, with nearly one-quarter of businesses saying they took on more workers.
One respondent noted it rehired all its temporarily laid-off workers and made new hires. Another cited strong demand at new locations as the reason it hired more employees.
Motivating Employees to Return to the Office
With the economy improving, what can employers do to motivate employees to return to the office even though remote-work initiatives have largely been successful? Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, commented that “companies are going to need to balance the needs of employees with the company’s plans to get people back to the office and happy about being there.”
1. Evaluating Talent
As company executives monitor the economy and customer demand, what was in 2020 might not be what is in 2021 and going forward. Therefore, as part of the discussion regarding strategic business initiatives, companies will need to evaluate their current staff’s skill sets while determining their future talent needs. Emmet McGrath, president of Yoh, says, “as the world moves closer to a slow return to normal, it is crucial for managers to recognize their teams’ efforts and begin to evaluate their teams for talent gaps so they can continue to maintain the level of skill needed to succeed in the post-COVID world.” Adding onto what McGrath says, another January survey by LiveCareer found one-third of workers would quit before going back to the office full-time.
2. Office Safety Measures
What steps do companies need to take to present a safe and inviting environment for their employees? Tami Simon, the corporate consulting leader and senior vice president at Segal, commented, “Above all else, employees need to feel safe: physically, mentally, and financially. Employers should transparently describe how they plan to make their workplace a safe place. In addition to the physical measures companies need to take, employees need to feel like they won’t face the consequences for expressing their needs or feeling reluctant to head back to the office.”
3. Offer New Benefits
Employees will be looking for new benefits, including rotating home/office schedules, added mental health support, caregiving assistance, and financial wellness. The best way to understand what your employees need is to ask for their opinions and ideas. Consider this feedback even if the company doesn’t move forward with every idea. Employees will appreciate the opportunity.
In a Fast Company article by Gwen Moran, creator of Bloom Anywhere, she states that it’s a good idea to communicate policies, changes, and expectations across different platforms, such as employee emails, manager meetings, and even internal podcasts. She says, “This is another period of rapid change, and your team needs help anticipating what’s next.”
Moran also believes that once people feel safer to gather and work returns to normal, other activities such as get-togethers to celebrate birthdays and company milestones will increase the face-to-face contact we’ve all missed.
How Recruiting Experts Can Help
All of us at Arlington Resources have seen our fair share of highs and lows in the employment industry. We’ve also been innovative and embraced changes along the way, improving workforce programs for our clients. We have experience evaluating staffing programs and offer proven approaches to evaluate the talent needs that best meet your company objectives. We are eager to partner with you in this transition back to work. Call us today.