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The coronavirus pandemic changed the workplace. More than two years after it began, the workplace is still changing, with employees working in a combination of in-person, remote, and hybrid capacities.
Jaclynn Robinson, workplace consultant with Gallup, spoke about the changing workplace and how to keep employees engaged during the 2022 CUNA HR & Organizational Development Council Conference Wednesday in Orlando.
Before the pandemic, 43% of people worked remotely, according to Gallup research. That jumped to 75% when the pandemic began in March 2020. Today, 39% work fully remote and 42% work in a hybrid capacity.
According to the research, nine out of 10 employees who could work remotely would do so, however, only six out of 10 who have that capability prefer that option.
Robinson says people want the flexibility that remote work offers, yet they also realize a need for a social connection and find hybrid arrangements offer an in-person option for ideation and seeing people.
Some employees are still leery about returning to an office setting, Robinson says. They are anxious or have questions about health and safety protocols.
Alleviate those fears by taking small steps to get them accustomed to returning to an in-person environment by scheduling on-site team meetings or strategy sessions.
“If there are ways you can baby step them back into the office or give them clear expectations, that will help,” Robinson says. “The great unknown is what’s scaring them.”
Leaders need to communicate plans clearly and effectively.
Establishing a clear plan of action, demonstrating the organization is prepared to equip employees with the materials and equipment necessary to do their jobs, and providing clear, concise information are key drivers of keeping employees engaged during the transition, Robinson says.