Your office is your most valuable employee
As we’re all trying to catch a glimpse of the new normal, have you thought about how your employees will thrive in it?
Granted, there are still a lot of unknowns. What you do know is how productive and happy your employees were pre-Covid. This should be the minimum level that we’re trying to achieve in the new normal, and now we have a chance to improve.
The majority of us have had to work remotely over the past few months. We’ve battled with kids and partners for Zoom call priority and baked so much we considered opening a delivery service. But as you are asking, “Should we be returning to the office?” consider this:
There are 2 types of tasks in any business:
1) Tasks that are easy to do remotely; such as admin, clearing out emails or project work keep the business ticking over.
2) Tasks that are hard to do remotely; such as engaging with your employees, think tanks and building company culture, push the business forward (AKA make you money).
Currently we’re all about getting our businesses through Covid in one piece. This means a lot of Type 1 tasks and keeping your head above water. However Type 2 tasks are just around the corner, they’re screaming not to be ignored. Remember that great culture you had going into lockdown, your employees were behind you and the business? Well, that was built face to face.
To put it simply, it’s not impossible to grow a business fully remote, it will just be much harder.
So, tell me how to manage it!
I’m afraid I’m not the Fairy Godmother of Post-Covid-Office-Strategy-In-The-New-Normal, (FG of PCOSITNN for short, catchy). But what I can say is this;
Don’t disregard the office. Think of your office as an employee. Play to their strengths, use them to increase other’s productivity and creativity, and get a good return on your investment.
Make the space work for you.
Have ‘on’ and ‘off’ days in the office. Reduce office hours so there’s more flexibility for travelling off-peak. Consider your collaboration spaces and increase the amount of social spaces. If we’re mainly coming into the office to perform Type 2 tasks, we need places to do that. Managers need to assign Type 1 tasks for remote days and keeping Type 2 tasks for office days. Respectful micro-management will need a place as will a trust for employees to do the hours they’re contracted, even if it doesn’t align with 9-5. Pods and teams need to be carefully considered so the right people are working with each other and in the office at the same time. Have a look at our back to work strategy, for idea’s on how to do this effectively.