Return to work (place) or not? Employees and employers seem to be on two different pages of two completely different books when it comes to return to work (place).
On one hand, companies are struggling to articulate why they need people in an office, what work (if any) did not get done due to remote work, especially in light of strong results.
On the other hand, People are hurting and not feeling heard.
There isn’t a lot of listening happening. There have been a million surveys, but not enough conversation. The return to work messages from organizations aren’t landing well with employees. When organizations release Return to Work mandates, which are often quite inflexible, this is what employees hear:
We don’t trust you
We value people working in the office more than those working remotely
We value visibility more than results
We praised your ingenuity & collaboration last year, but didn’t really mean it
We care about the work more than we care about you
Mental health is important but not if it comes in the way of work
I value your flexibility but less than my need to be in control
We just want to go back to ‘normal’ and not reimagine how we work
We have an opportunity to listen to what people want, try experiments, and pilots to see what works, and use a more data based approach to reimagine the future of work, and create sustainable work solutions that help people do their best work.
The pandemic has tested us in many ways, and I would contend that we saw ingenuity, engagement, collaboration and inclusiveness at a completely new level. We have to ensure we don’t lose some of those hard won gains. We need a multi layered and multi faceted approach, not a one size fits all.
– Is your manager having conversations with you to understand what flexibility you need, and your challenges?
– Is your company working with you to reimagine the future of work, and how it gets done?
– Are the conversations only about flexibility, or about how work fits into your life better?
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