Considerations for Return to Office
I've been thinking about some of the key considerations for employees returning to office after this long period of WFH exclusivity, and wondering whether these resonate with you...
Health and safety -
Will you ask employees who want to spend time in office to get vaccinated? Or will you take a softer approach, and perhaps not require but "strongly encourage" anyone who wants to work in office to get vaccinated? Perhaps employees that are vaccinated move more freely throughout your offices/campuses by showing some sort of credentials, and others have to move through some health and safety gates, like temperature checks, etc.
Or perhaps your company will "recognize and thank" vaccinated employees with paid time off to complete the task, maybe a Starbucks gift card or Pizza night for the family (gift card).
In terms of social distancing at work will office layouts change? Will in person meeting structures and layouts change? Any incremental steps in office cleaning and sterilization?
Management support -
Will your front line leaders manage mixed teams of people that WFH and people that mostly office? Or will you separate the two? Managing mixed teams (in person and remote) is definitely higher effort for supervisors (think about simply conducting team meetings two different ways, and booking meeting space vs. jumping on Zoom). So if you decide to manage mixed teams, a reduction in team size is suggested. Otherwise, you will burn your supervisors out quite quickly.
Are you considering rotating office/home time for some, full time WFH for others? Taking employee preferences into consideration? All great ideas. All can work well, with proper planning. Giving employees flexibility will pay terrific returns, and since contact center management has clear visibility of employee production regardless of where they sit, we're not guessing or doubting somebody's output. We may thinking about engagement levels, but certainly not production, because we can see it.
What did your employees go home with in terms of equipment? What will you use to set up equipment in office? If employees went home with laptops, it's easy, as the mobility can continue, regardless of where someone sits. For employees that went home with full PCs, are they worth bringing back to the office? Or do you have some equipment planning/swapping to do. Given restrictions around availability, this might impact your timeline more than anything else I've mentioned so far. I'd start the assessment here, and work the 2021 possibilities and plans from the equipment starting point.
Join the WFH 2.0 Forum for Senior Leadership April 29 to drill down more deeply on what other companies are doing. Verizon Wireless, Cardinal Health, and Hagerty Insurance will be sharing their plans.