At this point in the pandemic, leaders in companies among all industries and of all sizes have had to work their way through challenges they never saw coming, from a quick change to work-from-home in many cases, to what protocols need to be immediately put into place for employee safety, to how to utilize current technology to keep the business running.
We spoke with Vice President and HR Consulting Practice Leader for CCI Consulting Paul Jeffers about one of the top questions they receive from area leaders: how they should bring employees back to the office, if at all, with the virus and its variants continuing to have impact.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and the situation continues to change,” said Paul Jeffers. “What existed three months ago and what exists now given the virus and its variants has changed many companies’ plans on returning to the office. While early vaccination progress caused a shift towards a return to the office, many companies are now reversing or delaying their decisions.”
Jeffers suggests that how companies respond is integral to company morale and must be handled carefully. Many of the clients that CCI supports have leaned on CCI to guide them through this difficult time.
“We work with our clients to assess the value and the consequences of returning to the office. While employee health and safety remain the top priority, other considerations such as business productivity, business continuity, employee engagement, retention, and impact on company culture are also clearly in focus. Organizations must conduct risk assessments and make balanced decisions,” he says.
Jeffers offered some worthwhile advice for area leaders on how to approach this difficult topic.
“The basic options are a full return to the office, a continuation of working from home, or a hybrid option. Organizations must carefully review these options and determine the pros and cons of each. Decisions will likely be based on how an organization best conducts business and how its employees best conduct their work. For example, highly collaborative environments may suffer if working on a fully remote basis.”
Jeffers notes that it’s important to realize that the analysis that makes sense today may not always make sense depending on how the pandemic progresses.
“Whatever decision a company lands on, it must be able to flex depending on how the COVID situation changes. We’re not quite finished here. It’s best to be honest about that and communicate authentically. Organizations should remain flexible and recognize that how we work may be changed for the long run.”
Looking For More Advice?
CCI Consulting is a trusted talent management and human resource consulting firm based in Blue Bell that partners with clients to provide integrated HR solutions that build resilience, readiness, and results.
If you would like to learn about how we may be able to assist your company during this time, contact us!