One of the key words used in corporate boardrooms this year has been “reentry.” Companies have been tasked with 1) deciding if or when remote employees should return to an office at all, and 2) what a good reentry plan might look like.
As we’ve written about before (here, here and here, for starters), there are no easy answers to these questions. Many people have reacted positively to a switch to remote work — as the Harvard Business Review article below points out, 58% of people say they would look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely in their current position.
At the same time, there are certainly employees who miss the day-to-day routine of the office and would welcome a return. Plus, some positions lend themselves to staying remote, while others may function better in person. In short, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s what makes reentry planning tricky. What works well for company A might not work well for company B.
The HBR article offers some good direction on how managers can approach this dilemma. Mobility teams can also play an important role here, as we’ve touched on before. While many key decisions are likely to come from above, mobility teams can continue to focus on providing flexible support while offering the right range of policies and benefits to meet employee needs. There’s no doubt that “reentry anxiety” is a real thing — in and outside the workplace — and companies that provide the right control and care are less likely to see people head for the exit.
As vaccines roll out across the globe, more and more offices are opening up — or making plans to in the near future. That’s good news for people who are eager to get back to their desks. But what about people who are anxious about returning to in-person work, or (like me) feel conflicted? Maybe they have health issues that would put them at risk (even with broad vaccine adoption). Or they’ve got caretaking responsibilities that prevent them from going in. Perhaps they’ve found that they’re happier and more productive working at home, or they had a long commute they’re content to no longer endure. As a manager how do you help people manage their return-to-work anxiety?