Like so many organizations, the pandemic completely upended the way we work here at Picis. Prior to March 2020, telecommuting was mainly done on an exceptional basis, with prior approval. Now, over a year and a half into our remote work “experiment” that was borne out of necessity, we’re working to build a sustainable return to office model that balances new norms and safety protocols with opportunities to rebuild connections and improve collaboration. Here are some tips we can share to help with your return to office planning.
Mandating a specific (and possibly arbitrary) date for everyone to return is likely to create needless anxiety and confusion. By allowing a few employees to return at a time, prioritizing those that have been eager to get back to the office, you can pilot out some of the new safety measures and procedures you’ve implemented. This will allow you to get feedback and adjust as needed before rolling the procedures out for your entire workforce.
The trajectory of the pandemic and the impact it’s had on individuals has varied greatly over the past year and a half. Everyone’s enthusiasm and comfort level for a return to the office is going to depend on several factors, many of which are outside of your organization’s control. According to a 2021 Microsoft report, “73% of employees want flexible work options to stay”. Here at Picis, we’re providing employees with various models, allowing them to choose what’s best for them and giving them the freedom to change their working designation as circumstances change. A July message from our CEO, Jeff Bender, sums it best:
“We will not be imposing a one-size-fits-all approach but will remain focused on creating an environment where our employees feel supported and can bring their best selves to work…whether that be in-office, remote or in a hybrid arrangement.”
Throughout the process of developing our return to office guidelines, one thing we’ve stressed across all departments and regions is consistency. Despite having three offices and several different management groups, our Leadership Team has worked collaboratively to ensure that our messaging around flexibility has been consistent across the board. While certain roles could benefit from the increased collaboration that an in-person meeting affords, we have no plans to mandate that any specific teams or individuals must return to the office.
Overall, the best way to ensure a successful return to office is to listen to your team and provide various flexible options to everyone, rather than an “all or nothing” approach. By making sure that all employees feel empowered to choose the model that’s right for them, they’ll feel comfortable returning when the time is right.
- Heather Kreker, Vice President of Customer Support