How To Best Deal With Post-Pandemic Office?
By Julia Cavalheiro
After the covid-19 pandemic made every person do home-office, the perception of office work changed a lot. With “normal work life” coming back it is complicated to strike the right balance between presence in the work environment and the work-from-home flexibility. With that in mind, we want to help you understand some things that can be considered when trying to navigate the post-pandemic type of office.
Many companies are coming up with ideas on how to make this balance; for example, Google came up with the “flexible workweek”, where they ask employees to spend at least three days a week in the office and the rest working from home. Other companies are not so open to changes.
How to balance these new demands is not so clear.
“Should companies require employers to be in the office for certain days? For a set number of days each week? How should those in the office accommodate colleagues working remotely?
All those are super valid questions. Therefore, we want to help you with some possibilities on how to best deal with the post-pandemic office.
Where to start
Research called “Remote, Inc.: How to Thrive at Work, made by Mr. Pozen, said that when considering a design for a hybrid office it is important to have five factors in mind:
Thinking about these factors can make it easier for managers to address the most common challenges of hybrid teams, which are: communication barriers, dispersed locations, and decentralized organization.
Elements of teamwork
One of the challenges faced with this new environment is how to best manage your team remotely and in person.
After Harvard researchers, Ashley Willians, Leslie Perlow, and Aurora Turek interviewed employees at a consulting firm on their remote working during the pandemic and it was possible to identify categories of team interactions.
Content interactions: The importance of communication about tasks, such as sharing feedback while sitting side by side. It is important to focus on improving communication regardless of where the work is done.
Bounce interactions: Focus on generating new ideas by doing brainstorming sessions. A problem perceived by the search was that during online work, most of the ideas were created separately, making it harder to align with others.
Process interactions: Define and structure work. During the online work period, most people felt that there should be more process conversations, but not in an exhausting way. Because of it, a very popular choice is to use communication tools like Slack.
Social interactions: Spending time with others was a relevant point during the research. Get to know your co-workers by sharing a meal or during happy hours.
Development interactions: The importance of mentorship and development feedback. Using informal feedback conversations can and should be considered.
We are in a moment of developing a new work environment, taking into consideration things that were only presented to us because of having to work from home. Therefore there is no single right way to design a hybrid workplace.
Just asking the right questions is already something that can help each team shape their post-pandemic office, improving their employee’s productivity, mental health, and the results of their work.