WHAT WILL BACK TO WORK LOOK LIKE FOR KNOWLEDGE WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS?
Despite the ‘Delta variant’, as vaccination rates rise and pandemic restrictions loosen, a ‘new normal’ will arise back to work. There are still more questions than answers, but here are a few things to consider. For many, the work location pendulum swung from largely in the office (pre pandemic) to largely remote during the pandemic. I expect the pendulum to land somewhere in the middle and will vary between organizations. Companies have a lot to think about for their post pandemic workplace transformation, and will consider the 5 back to work models. What model do you expect your organization to use?
- Employees may have concerns about coming back to the office. This article has some topics to consider.
- Employee Wellness and Mental Health – resources are required to support employees working from home to balance all aspects of their wellbeing, including addressing isolation from their teams/peers; maintaining productivity; and achieving work-life balance.
- Are looking for work time and work location flexibility. We have seen that at any time, a new wave of restrictions can come, causing havoc for child/family care and other logistics around the home/family. Some people have moved away from cities, planning to work mostly remotely going forward.
- Office layout: Will the current office layout address the health concerns of workers? Employees will want to know.
What do you think the top employee topics are for the post pandemic workplace?
- Are trying to balance safety/health of employees through vaccination policies (including what level of enforcement) & required days/times in the office vs. flexibility to keep employees.
- What is the Board’s role? Many companies are having their back to work policies go through the Human Resource & Governance Committee.
- In parallel, organizations are thinking about how they can best compete for talent.
- Are exploring how to increase creativity, innovation, teamwork and relationships in a hybrid workplace model.
- Are looking at their office locations and layout, expected utilization and how to furnish new locations.
- Do companies want to own/lease/manage their properties and/or use co-working space?
What do you think the top employer topics are for the post pandemic workplace?
It is clear that the ‘new normal’ isn’t here yet, at least not in the greater Toronto area.
While banks and others have started to issue their vaccination policies, I don’t believe they are implemented, so the largely vacant office towers and parking lots of Toronto continue.
Each company will need to balance the business/customer needs with employee preferences/needs and evolve the strategy & related execution. I expect there to be a wide range of employer policies implemented and an even wider range of employee responses with a higher-than-average number of people changing roles in the coming months.