Navigating A Post-Pandemic Return To Work

Navigating A Post-Pandemic Return To Work

by on 1 Jul, 2021

As we see restrictions starting to lift, we’re seeing companies start to send their employees back to work in the office as long as it’s safe to do so and a proper risk management plan is in place. Although there’s been a lot of debate over working from home since the Coronavirus first started affecting lives over a year ago, a recent YouGov poll showed interesting results from remote workers. This poll concluded that “86% of those who are working remotely say they would be interested in continuing to do so after the pandemic”.

This leaves business owners with the question of what to do going forward with employees going back to work. Navigating a post-pandemic return to work is confusing and there’s no guidebook for knowing what will work best for your company. In this article, we’ll discuss remote working and working from the office, as well as taking a look at methods like the hybrid workplace model.

Employees Have Adapted To Working From Home

It’s important to keep in mind that, just as humans quickly adapted to everything that has changed due to the Coronavirus, work is just another area of life that humans have adapted to. Employees have gotten into a routine with their remote work schedule and many of them are now in a good place with communicating with their employers, have a set routine with their families, and have adapted to a new way of working. For many, the idea of now adjusting to a new work routine in-office may seem daunting. Keep this in mind as you decide what will work best for your company and employees.

Although spending all of their workdays in the office may have seemed normal a year ago, now working from home is what’s familiar and normal to employees. With this said, many may still be eager to return to the office after having spent so long away. Working remotely may have been damaging to their mental health and returning to the office may be eagerly anticipated. Keep all of your employee’s feelings in mind when you decide how your company will return to work post-pandemic.

Employees May Not be as Eager to Return: Poll Results

The results from the recent YouGov poll were surprising to many since many employers have assumed that employees will be eager to return to the office. However, this poll showed differently. According to the recent YouGov poll, 39% of remote workers say it would be “remote full time” while 32% say it would be “remote most of the time, with the option to go into the workplace occasionally.” Relatively few want to be in the physical workplace most (8%) or all (5%) of the time after the pandemic.

This shows that employees have adjusted to working remotely and many are not interested in returning to the office. These results can tell us that continuing to have employees work remotely, or doing a combination of both working from and home and in office, may not be a bad idea for some companies.

The most recent edition of LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey identified that “it’s likely that each industry will define its unique norms, along the lines seen in the chart below.” These results were based on surveys of nearly 9K LinkedIn respondents in the US, of which “were asked a variety of questions about what new work arrangements their employees might be offering, including the option of long-term remote work for full-time employees.”

LinkedIn workforce survey results of remote work vs in person work

And while employees may not be as initially eager to return to the workplace, you can get in touch with me here to discuss return to work HR policies, consultations on risk management, and more.

The Hybrid Workplace Model

The hybrid workplace model is a business model that caters to the needs of individual employees by combining aspects of both remote working and in-office working. With the hybrid workplace model, all or some of the employees have the opportunity and the freedom to choose where they’d like to work. Since the Coronavirus, and now with new restrictions lessening, this model is being adopted by thousands of businesses.

The exact model that you use for your business depends on your company, your employees, and what your company needs. However, the basic outline and structure for the model are the same, it just depends on how you adjust it according to your needs. A hybrid workplace model is where either all or some employees work remotely and the other half work in-office.

Since companies typically only have a remote team or team that meets at a physical office, this offers a nice combination of both. Sometimes the entire team will work remotely when implementing the hybrid workplace model, with some employees only showing up for specific events, and sometimes only a few will work remotely, with the majority meeting in the office.

Sometimes employees will be broken up into teams, with the different teams taking turns and staggering their times in and out of the office. Different businesses adjust the model and change ideas depending on what will work best for their company. It’s important to keep in mind that, ultimately, this model is supposed to be catered to individual’s needs and creating an environment and work schedule that works for them.

Will The Hybrid Workplace Model Work For Your Business?

The hybrid workplace model isn’t a good fit for everyone and it doesn’t work for every company. As you head into the time where you’ll have to make decisions on what will be best for your company, weigh out the pros and cons, and see if the hybrid workplace model is a good fit for your business. Think about the relationships that coworkers have with one another in the office and the productivity level of work since your team has started working remotely.

The method of getting work done that your employees enjoy the most may not the best decision for your company’s productivity. Your team may enjoy working remotely, but it may be more productive for your company when they come into the office, complete work, and then clock out at the end of the day.

This model is popular since it combines the benefits of employees working from home and working in the office. In the case of meetings, it may be nice for employees to discuss ideas and get input from colleagues in a physical space where they can see one another in person. The hybrid workplace model is introducing an easy way that employees can adapt to working in the office again gradually and at their own pace. The change in whether employees are in or out of the office during the week can be a refreshing change in days and keep employees from getting bored with their workflow.

However, there are some negatives to companies adopting this model as well. One thing to keep in mind is that working remotely may not be enjoyed by your whole team. Although some may have enjoyed working remotely, it can take a toll on your team’s mental health and may continue to do so if time is split between the office and home. Employees may start to feel isolated from the team and drift away from their colleagues when going long periods of time without seeing one another.

For many remote employees working from home has been a complete disaster and many haven’t managed to find a rhythm or routine that allows them to complete work. Many have been eagerly anticipating their time back in the office and when they’ll return to their workplace normal. If your team is used to working closely together and seeing one another daily, then they’re probably looking forward to getting back into their usual routine. It’s important to remember that this model isn’t a good fit for all companies and may not work for all employees.

Summing It Up

As you navigate your employees returning to in-office work after working remotely for over a year, the change can be difficult for both employees and employers. One thing that you may want to consider as you navigate these unknown territories and decide how you’ll move forward post-pandemic is the hybrid workplace model. Although this model may work for some, for others it can be disastrous. Closely look at the pros and cons of the hybrid work model, receive feedback from your team and make the decision that will ultimately benefit your employees and company.

Need help with getting back into the office, setting up HR policies, and creating a plan to manage risk? Get in touch by booking a FREE consultation today.


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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.

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