Brief

Employers and employees have different visions of the post-pandemic workplace, according to a Best Practice Institute survey, so the onus is on leaders to create flexibility and growth opportunities regardless of where people are located, writes John Baldoni. “Employees not in the office need to have the opportunity for promotion, even if it means returning to the office for a new position,” he writes.

 

Insight

There is always a tension between the wishes of management and what employees are willing to do. The challenge is for those in authority to provide a means for employees to achieve the mission by following the organization’s strategic direction.One such issue arising and worthy of study is the workplace’s future, namely whether work-from-anywhere will become our norm. If so, that’s not what CEOs are thinking. [Note: this survey covered employers where work could be done remotely.]

According to a new survey by the Best Practice Institute, 83% of CEOs want their employees to come back in the office. Only 10% of employees are interested. Of those who responded, safety was the prime concern.“Over 60% of employees responded they wouldn’t be comfortable returning without trusting the company’s confidence in communicating co-worker illness, clear instructions on health and safety policies, and the option to work from home,” BPI said in announcing the results.

Management wants a physical presence

“Research shows that any change, especially during a highly volatile time, will most likely cause a great deal of stress,” Louis Carter, CEO of BPI, told me in an interview. “People are already very concerned about their health and catching COVID (and rightly so), and going into work present a huge amount of potential for additional stress. Those who did indicate they would come into work gave us clear expectations of what they needed to make it easier for them to come back to work.

How can CEOs resolve this discrepancy between their wishes and the wishes of their employees? The answer is creating a sense of mutuality.“Co-creation is critical for CEOs to meet expectations,” says Carter. “CEOs must develop their perfect move back into the office together with them, and not ‘to’ them.

 

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