It may seem like 2019 was not that far away, but in a short time the pandemic has transformed cultural shifts and corporate values to make much of the business landscape unrecognizable. Organizations have gone through a transformation that CEOs expect to see in a decade. Some senior executives have been slow to allow full-time remote working, the adoption of hybrid and full-time remote models during the pandemic has reinvented the office space and employees’ ability to be successful outside of the workplace. normal in-person office experience.
A January 2021 survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) of employee and employer perceptions compared to June 2020 found that even more employees surveyed saw themselves as having increased productivity by working from home than office (34% in 2021 against 28% in 2020). ). Perceptions of executive productivity have also increased – more than half (52%) said average employee productivity has improved (up from 44% in 2020). While the desire for an office has not been eliminated by the forced shift to remote working, many employees are now struggling to keep their home office at least part-time instead of returning to the five-hour shift. days at the office. The same survey found that most employees preferred a three-day office / two-day remote schedule when reopening an office, with most executives willing to accommodate this arrangement.
With the evolution of the office space and a shift in mindset around what businesses need to be successful, CEOs and their leadership teams must maintain a balance between supporting employee expectations for flexible terms. working after the pandemic and maintaining a strong corporate culture. If done correctly, one should not be at the expense of the other. Here are three ways CEOs can support flexible working and encourage a positive work culture:
1. Establish a clear and continuous internal communication strategy.
Corporate culture ultimately comes down to the beliefs, values and behaviors of the people who work there. Corporate culture is not the physical office itself. Finding ways to instill a sense of the values and beliefs that form the backbone of the organization is a good practice, regardless of the remote mode of work adopted by the company. CEOs need to identify company values and ways to incorporate them into all aspects of the employee experience, from adding language to the organization’s website to incorporating language centric. values in the integration process. Without the benefit of all the staff meetings or in-person hallway conversations, the opportunities for employees to interact with senior management may be limited. It is therefore essential to establish routine and consistent communication in the remote working environment.
2. Position remote work as an incentive to perform.
Large tech companies were among the first to shut down when Covid spread and were by nature the fastest to adapt to a remote working structure. Some tech giants, including Google, which have a tradition of building enviable office environments, are now adding periods of remote work time as a business benefit so employees can take two weeks or more of vacation work wherever they want and not. make it count on their power take-off. CEOs should also consider ways to structure the hybrid desktop environment to encourage high performance, such as additional work-from-home privileges to meet business goals associated with traditional office rewards, such as a personal desktop or a parking place.
3. Create work structures that support mentorship and growth.
In the PWC survey, the majority of employees who expressed a desire to return to the office tended to be younger and less experienced and did not want to lose the benefits of mentoring, in-person meetings and team outings that traditionally have privileged relationships and extended networks. The virtual workspace makes it easier than ever to organize quick records between managers and all levels of staff through tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Slack which are now considered to be staples of the office in the workplace. most corporate environments. In the hybrid work environment, these activities can be supplemented with traditional in-person interactions to ensure that job expectations are understood, performance goals are clarified, and relationships are fostered among colleagues. Rather than expecting managers to take the lead in mentoring junior staff, CEOs can make it an expectation at the senior management level.
Executives reviewing return-to-work strategies have an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine what their office’s new normal will look like. They can innovate and create envelopes that support and encourage a healthy and productive corporate culture. By being proactive in designing structures that promote company values, reward engagement, and motivate mentorship, leaders can ensure that the new normal in the workplace benefits both business outcomes. and the workers who make it possible.