With the Covid-19 pandemic, a shift to working from home became a necessity to isolate this highly transmissible virus. Business and government alike were not prepared to address it two and a half years ago. No vaccine was available at the time, and working from home was the default solution.
Fast forward to today. 6.5 millions people worldwide died from the pandemic. Vaccines are available. We are learning to live with the pandemic. Even though, most American are ready to be done with it and get on with their lives. So what about the working from home?
Has the shift to working from home reversed itself back to in-person? Not so fast. Service industries such as grocery stores, restaurants, and travel sectors seem to be back to pre-pandemic. Albeit staffing remains a challenge as evident by the empty storefronts and flight cancellations.
A few considerations need to be addressed for the shift to be effective: 1) the pandemic is still with us. Just because we are tired of it does not mean the virus is done with us. How to live with the pandemic including any new variants is a risk that employers have to grapple with.
2) the working from home trend stirred up a so called “great resignation” when companies try to force employees back to the office. According to consulting firm McKinsey, 40% of employees are considering leaving their jobs in the next three to six months. And that is not limited to the service sector but “across the board.”
3) the pandemic uncovered innovations and strategies for working remotely. Information technology provides an viable face-to-face platform. But will work culture, procedure, and policy evolve to embrace this new found opportunity? What about an hybrid of in-person and working remote?
Instead of resisting the change brought on by the pandemic, organization needs to capture the moment, re-examine its core mission, and see how to embrace the change and grow from this opportunity.
Are you ready or already in-person?
We are back in the office 3 days a week.
I understand why new hires need office time, but I’ve been at this company almost 14 years.
And when I go in, most people aren’t there, so why am I.
I find the situation frustrating.
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I understand your frustration, Andy. Transition is difficult in uncertain time, especially not knowing the endgame or if the plan is well thought out in dealing with the risks. It’s a leadership challenge at multiple levels. I keep on believing somehow the big data will be useful in guiding us through the maze. Wishful thinking on my part?