That will forever be a date that elicits a lot of emotions for many people. Sometimes it seems like that date was very recent. Other times it seems like it was a long time ago. Either way, it has changed the workplace landscape and continues to do so.
During that time and since that time, priorities shifted for many individuals. Some decided to completely leave the workforce while others decided to change professions. Some were eager to get back into the office while others were eager to work remotely. And with all of the changes in expectations, employers are left to figure it out.
Employers are navigating the new normal. Yes, many detest that term, but how better to describe the work environment post-March 2020? “Remote” and “hybrid work” are hot topics that employers are trying to navigate. Here is a spoiler alert: there is not a one-size-fits-all approach and 100% of people will never be happy 100% of the time. But that is okay.
Is it really about the people in the seat? People being present in the sense of seeing them physically? Or is it actually about people being productive? People being engaged? People having the flexibility to integrate work and personal life? People having the support system to honor their mental well-being?
According to the latest research from the Workforce Institute, work flexibility is the #1 reason to job hunt and the top reason for staying in a role in 2023 (1). What is becoming clear is that it is no longer a determination of onsite versus remote versus hybrid, but rather a flexibility to respond to changing circumstances and expectations.
Work flexibility comes in all different arrangements and is not just a one-off accommodation for special circumstances. Here are just a few examples:
There are a few things that employers and employees can agree on. Everyone wants satisfaction and strong morale. Retention, loyalty, and engagement are all factors that have a positive effect on an organization’s bottom line. Employees that are engaged and satisfied are willing to do whatever is necessary to get tasks accomplished.
With all things, there is a key to making it work effectively – clear communications. No matter the work arrangements, there will be challenges. Successful organizations clearly communicate with employees and have a clear understanding of their employee’s wants and needs. Communication is a two-way street. It is more than just talking; it is also listening. All companies are different, and they should want to know about their staff. A survey can be a great tool to listen to what employees have to say. Companies will get a lot more buy-in, even from staff who may be unhappy with final guidelines, if they feel consulted and heard. The key is to find solutions that work for both employees and organizations.
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