Many companies are now finding themselves navigating a new world as they decide if and how to bring their employees back to the office.
David Lewis, CEO of human resources consulting group OperationsInc., said his Norwalk-based team has fielded many calls over the past 14 months from HR departments on how to navigate this new normal.
“Now companies are asking a lot of questions related to how soon they should reopen,” said Lewis.
Lewis said now that CDC guidance has changed and restrictions have been lifted, the companies that try to return to their pre-COVID policies right away will struggle the most to retain employees.
“This is the time to talk to your employees, to get their insight and input, to understand where their heads are at, to learn a little bit more about their specific concerns and issues because the more you have that information in hand, the better decisions you are going to make going forward,” said Lewis. “The flip side of it is the less considerate you are of those perspectives, the greater the chance you are going to have to backtrack on some of those decisions, or worse, regret them down the road.”
OperationsInc. has created 80 questions organization leaders should be able to answer before they form a concrete return-to-office plan.
“There are just so many unanswered questions that are tied to these unprecedented changes in the workplace that we felt if we put out this list, it would help companies start to focus more specifically on things they should think about,” said Lewis.
According to a Harvard Business School Online survey, many Americans prefer to keep working remotely most days. Those surveyed also felt like they achieved more from home. Just 18% wanted to go back to the office full time.