Prior to Covid-19 office arrangements, the work-week schedule, and group interactions were easily understood and practiced. Since Covid-19 offices are closed or shrunken. Responsibilities have shifted or changed. Staffs are reduced. Hours of work are modified and workers adapted to a work-from-home arrangement with interactions via the computer.
Now that the pandemic is lessening, work schedules are changing once again. There may be a period of time when work schedules will become muddled and a bit confusing. It’s called a hybrid work schedule. A hybrid work schedule is a combination of office time, remote work from home, and flexible time. This means the work itself will dictate the location of its employees.
There’s a growing and problematic trend emerging: Bosses are trying to nudge employees back to the office environment, while employees are resisting an autocratic management approach. In addition, employees have options to find a different job given the supply of unfilled positions elsewhere.
A number of surveys have been conducted by companies that may provide some insights to businesses and individuals for potential solutions:
- More than 80% of employees favor a hybrid plan rather than an office-only schedule
- Companies must figure out a new model to get work done, or potentially lose workers
- Two-to-three days a week at the office seems to be the norm for a hybrid system
- Some functions may be required to be in an office-only situation, while other functions may work remotely. The nature of the work will determine the parameters.
- Organizations see Mondays and Fridays as the most important days for a staff to be in the office with their co-workers
- Employees tend to see Mondays and Fridays as a potential three-day week-end
- Thursdays appear to be the most popular day to be in the office from the employee’s perspective
So, what are the steps and approach that can mitigate issues and optimize the outcome during this period of change? Here are some thoughts:
- Management needs to understand the issues and not make demands of their employees that they may regret later on
- Instead, managers should have open discussions with their work teams and maybe ask them to share their thoughts about alternatives that are satisfactory to everyone
- Rethink how results can be accomplished with a different pattern of work
- Develop a balance of fair work schedules and accommodations
- Develop a flexible hybrid model that will reach the objectives of the organization
- Make individual accommodations, if possible, without affecting the results of the group
These are unusual times. Management must be flexible and creative in working with their employees to optimize talent, performance, plans and results. It will make a difference.
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