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How can organizations get people excited about coming back to work?  
Workation Relaxation

 

Creativity, collaboration, celebration.

It’s difficult to define those “three Cs” of human resources – impossible to measure and put a concrete value on – but you can feel it when they’re gone.

And as work-from-home became the norm over the past two years, many organizations found those intangibles tough to replicate in a virtual setting.

Businesses across the world are grappling with when to bring their employees back to the office. But equally important is ‘how’ to do it. Because leaders are going to have to work that much harder to give employees a good reason to return.

Morale can be easy to ignore in the best of times, yet it comes into stark contrast in the worst. And if your organization did ignore those issues at the peak, your valley is that much deeper and your climb back up will be that much harder.

How will your organization create an environment that convinces people it’s better to be at the office than at home?

Is it the physical space itself? Should you remodel your offices to make it more of a destination, the kind of place people will want to be?

Or will the pull of camaraderie, of human connection, do the job? Research shows that those with a good friend at work are much less likely to quit.

In a way, working remotely means having a more rigidly structured schedule. It’s not meetings that cause teams to bond, if you think about it. It’s what happens before and after a meeting when you really get to know each other, joke around, talk about your weekend, whatever.

Other types of professional growth take a big hit with a distributed workforce as well. Think about mentoring, how is that getting done? Is it even happening at an informal level anymore?

We all know the time to bring everybody back isn’t far off. Omicron appears faster and not as virulent as its predecessor. So, what will get people excited to return? What are you doing to say, ‘Now’s the time and this is the place!’

Your organization’s success post-pandemic may just depend on the answer.

Ron Arigo is senior vice president and head of human resources at AAA Northeast.

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