24th May 2021
How to return to the workplace (or not) – in a post covid world – Charlie Judy
This snippet is part of our Ebook How to return to the workplace (or not) – in a post covid world. Advice and suggestions from our Top 101 influencers. You can download the full eBook with all the advice here.
Charlie Judy, Chief People & Culture Officer (CHRO) at Intelligent Medical Objects
If your organization hasn’t figured out that its people can be as productive and as engaged as they’ve always been (if not more) while working gods-know-where over the last year, then your organization has been asleep at the switch. There is no return to normal and there is no “new normal.” In fact, change and disruption are all we can really rely on from the future of work. And the best way to manage – even exploit – change and disruption is to build agility and flexibility into your workforce, your culture, and the systems that support them. Your employees are neither remote nor office employees, they’re both. Sometimes it will make more sense for them to be in the office, sometimes it will make sense for them to work away from it. Some people will prefer the comforts of their home, while others will prefer to get the hell out it. More likely, everyone’s preferences will shift over time and everyone will need a little of both. That’s the beauty of a hybrid model – everyone gets both.
Here’s the kicker, though: Don’t lose sight of how important the physical community is. Most of us still derive energy from one another and we all need an occasional boost served up in the form of good old fashioned human interaction. Give people a reason to come into the office while creating opportunities to nurture that community. And set the expectation that your managers be intentional about that. This doesn’t require a policy or policing. It just requires some guidelines, some conversation, and some faith. At Intelligent Medical Objects (IMO), we’re easing into our hybrid model by first opening the doors to only those employees who have been fully vaccinated. This allows for relaxed capacity restrictions and PPE requirements; and this, in turn, allows for a much more familiar workplace experience. Our managers have taken time to understand who’s planning on being in the office and how often. They’ve begun to set the cadence for how often they’ll get together in-person as a team. Are there requirements for how often employees must be in the office? Nope. Are there requirements for who is eligible to work remotely? Nope. Do employees have to report in or account for their whereabouts in any given day? Nope and nope. We hire smart, talented, mature, and thoughtful people. We trust them with our products, with our customers, and with each other. Why wouldn’t we trust them to figure out how to make this new hybrid approach work for them and for us? We should.