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The Post-COVID Work Environment

November 6, 2022

By Linda Olejniczak, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Many organizations have had to adjust their return to office plans due to employees revolting. Rather than compete with the home office, try embracing it by creating an office that builds off of what your employees love about working from home.

Let’s face it, trying to compete with the comforts of home is a lot to ask. Organizations can’t expect to unlock the doors and turn on the lights and think it’s business as usual. It’s not. The workforce and workplace has changed. COVID was a big disruption that is still wreaking havoc on the workplace.

Respect and autonomy need to be in place for your employees as they return to the office.  They have endured one of the most dramatic workplace disruptions in our history. Despite being under intense stress of a global pandemic along with added responsibilities of having children home, family members ill, and entire families isolated, they remained productive and loyal. Most employees have proven that they can handle a flexible work environment. 

Develop core hours that you expect employees to be in the office.  Determine meeting arrangements. If everyone comes into the office and continues to sit in TEAMS meetings that defeats the purpose of collaborating. Encourage a good use of their time while in person. Encourage use of in-office days as meeting days so that days from home can be used for working on solo tasks.

Think about your employee’s day to day.  The office should provide space for: meetings with four or less people, one-on-ones with managers, training for 10 or more people, and quiet areas to return emails and make phone calls.  The work environment should support these tasks and empower employees to get the most done in these 2 – 3 days in the office.

Working from home is about the empowerment people feel from having control of their space and work-life balance. Giving employees the same feelings in their choices will certainly go a long way to making coming into the office a value.  Create a space that stimulates collaboration, offers autonomy, balance, and professional growth. 

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