“Back to the Office” in the “New Normal”

All the hard work of the last year has been leading toward this “new normal” that seems to get thrown around a lot. Now, we have made it to a place where businesses can re-open and offices can as well. But the “new normal” questions whether or not some of the changes of the past year were beneficial to the workforce and what we want to do differently as we move forward.

McKinsey did a global survey that showed that “nearly three-quarters of around 5,000 employees would like to work from home for two or more days per week, and more than half want at least three days of remote work.” However, the same survey showed that working from home also has its pitfalls for employees as “many also report that working from home through the stress of the pandemic has driven fatigue, difficulty in disconnecting from work, deterioration of their social networks, and weakening of their sense of belonging.”

So, what do we gather from this?

We are in a time of change and it is the job of the employers and upper-level management to recreate what kind of environment they want for their employees. For many industries, a fully remote approach was initiated and mandatory for the last year and unexpectedly created success.

We now know the power of digital technologies and how much they can do.

But a fully remote workforce, as mentioned above, isn’t necessarily the answer. After a year of immense change and upheaval, everyone is looking for a finish line and therein lies the problem.

The finish line is moving.

The “new normal” isn’t simply the shift to a hybrid workplace or a 4- day work week, it’s constant change. The pandemic shook up how we see work blending in with our lives and the companies that want to succeed need to continue listening to the views of their workforce.

Much like how marketers need to re-evaluate their consumers as we move forward, understanding how the pandemic changed habits and adjusting strategies to match new data, employers need to expect to do the same. Listening to the needs of your team is continuous and changing but the benefits are worth every effort for both the company and each individual employee.