Narrowly Focused Return to Work Preparations = Lost Opportunity to Strengthen Culture (i4cp login required)

If your organization’s “return to the workplace” considerations
and preparations are limited to just those employees who were asked to work
from home at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are missing an
opportunity to lead meaningful cultural change.

The latest research from the Institute for Corporate
Productivity (i4cp) found that among most larger organizations surveyed (those
employing >1,000), return to the workplace planning efforts are largely
focused on the faction of their workforces required to work remotely due to
stay-at-home orders, rather than all employees.

Most organizations that are preparing their workers to
return to the workplace are doing all the right things—creating playbooks or
guides (80%), providing training on new approaches to safety measures (74%),
facilitating town hall conversations that allow for Q&A (49%), and
upskilling their leaders so that they can better guide their teams through the
transition and challenges ahead (42%).

While half of the larger employers surveyed said that they are
including all employees in their reboarding offerings, 43% said that such
efforts are primarily focused on the work-from-home group.

This fails to acknowledge that the changes we have all
experienced (and will continue to) affect everyone—not simply those who were
asked to work remotely for a period of time. And potentially leaving others out
of what could be a deeper, more meaningful conversation about the organization
and what it aspires to be is a lost opportunity to bring everyone into a
conversation about moving forward.

Groups of Workers in Reboarding

Last week’s survey found that return-to-the-workplace
preparations are led by HR in most organizations, usually in concert with a
multidisciplinary task force or formal response team that typically includes
representatives across functions and geographies from senior leadership,
general counsel, facilities, corporate communications, etc. Reboarding process leader

A combined 62% of larger organizations are in the process of
active planning or have already conducted a reboarding process to prepare
employees who are returning to the workplace.

For organizations still in the early planning stages, elements
should include a mechanism to continuously gather employee sentiment about
return to the office needs and preferences, assessing the availability of local
external supports (schools/child care services, public transportation, etc.)
and balancing all of that with compliance concerns—i4cp’s Return
to the Workplace Checklist
can help. Reboarding Process

Read the full results of last weeks pulse survey