Over the past month, many company leaders have begun to plan for a gradual return to the workplace. We have seen approaches ranging from weekly shifts to phased-in returns to returns by floors in the office building. Unfortunately, none of these approaches considers all of the important factors in creating sustainable work arrangements.
A business is not simply a collection of people doing individual tasks. The glue to any successful business is the way employees coordinate their work with others, communicate expectations and updates, collaborate on ideas to innovate and share customer insights.
Looking for the simplest way to perform job tasks to gain efficiency and maximize employee safety does not enable you to capture the full power of an enterprise. There are significant tangible and intangible benefits to working, talking and problem-solving face-to-face. It enhances the ability to read other’s reactions instantaneously and immediately build on an idea or address a concern.
The physical presence of others also creates a palpable energy that is hard to capture virtually. This is the power of working corporately, meaning as “a united group” or “united into one.”
So, designing work arrangements that enable employees and your business to grow involves several factors. Below are four important factors and questions to consider. Even as you consider these four factors, your work arrangement solution might not be an all-or-nothing (i.e., remote vs. in-office) solution but a hybrid.
- Is successful performance easily defined and measured?
- Do your systems enable tracking of results / progress for this job?
- Can the task be performed equally as effective while remote?
- Is most of the job dependent solely on input from the worker him/herself or input from others?
- Is the employee motivated by being around people or working alone?
- To what extent is the employee driven by achieving performance goals?
- Does the employee work well autonomously?
- Are there training or mentoring programs the employee can access remotely?
- Does the employee’s remote workspace facilitate sustained, focused effort?
- If remote workspace is at home, can the employee work without distractions for reasonable stretches?
- Do special accommodations need to be made for him/her?
- Does the environment have the necessary equipment and technology to enable all necessary job functions?
The Business Need
- Does the job require high levels of collaboration and personal interaction with others to develop relationships and/or solutions?
- Is there a shared workload with others in similar roles?
- If so, is there a process to notify teammates that an employee is available to help if his/her work is completed?
It might feel cumbersome to consider all these factors for each job in your organization, but this more intentional, in-depth approach will yield a more sustainable work arrangement that will enable both the employee and the business to grow.
Contact us to help create work arrangements that help your employees and your business grow.