Updated: Jan 20, 2021
This past week I was talking with a leader in the construction industry and they candidly shared that there were some tense moments while they reviewed their employee survey results with their leadership team. 2020 has worn people out and this organization was no different. Trust had broken down over time regarding who was going to get the work done. What was once a seamless process fell apart as teams separated, with some staying on jobsites and others working remotely.
Flexible work arrangements are not new, but the construction industry has not been known for taking the lead adopting innovative employee experiences. Most construction organizations dug their heels in and refused to engage in a conversation about flex work.
Until March of this year.
Organizations and industries that had not had the conversations previously were now sending their workforce home and most have struggled with how to manage the work, prevent trust from eroding, as well as how to keep their eye on the future.
Vaccines are now being delivered to every state, but that doesn't mean that everything is going to go back to the way it was in February.
Organizations need to learn from their lack of conversations this past spring and should start planning for the "return to work" now.
Here are three questions that organizations should answer as they plan their return to work:
1. Who will be able to continue to work remotely?
Previously held reservations around flexible work will need to be lifted. While many people are looking forward to getting back into offices and on jobsites, there are some that will want to stay remote, at least part time. Putting a plan in place now will facilitate that conversation down the road.
2. How should we streamline work processes?
We have all used technologies in ways we wouldn't have otherwise this year. We have also found new ways of working. Some of these are fantastic, others less so. As the location of work shifts back to physical locations, take the time to reevaluate what will work best going forward.
3. How will we ensure they are capturing the voice of our employees?
Returning to work will be a significant change for many people. And there is no better time to listen to your employees than during and throughout change. If you haven't already, take the time now to set up a listening program to ensure you are supporting their return.
Returning to work is not going to be as seamless as many are hoping for, but that doesn't mean there needs to be tense moments as you review next year's employee survey results.