Read More

Better, Stronger, Faster: Opportunity in the Workplace Re-Entry Environment

Good News! There’s not just a light at the end of the tunnel, there are fully illuminated workplaces re-introducing employees to life in the office.

However, worksites will most likely look and feel different, as a result of hybrid schedules (remote and on-site), new policies, appreciation for individual work preferences, and, don’t forget, a better understanding of Zoom video conferencing! During this “re-entry and recovery” phase, OneDigital New England and many other OneDigital offices are taking an opportunistic approach, one that embraces change, transparency and fresh perspectives.

Here are (3) components that demonstrate our approach to navigating a changing workplace that is poised to tackle the future with positivity and enthusiasm.

Better. Asking our teams, what have we learned in the past year and a half that allows us to be better than before?

  • Improvements in technology platforms and an almost universal adoption of new tools has improved our communication, allowing for a deeper understanding of client barriers to some technology solutions. By personally going through technology enhancements, we can better relate and offer guidance to our customers that come from first-hand experience. We believe these opportunities allow client relationships to thrive in a new and refreshing experience.
  • Leadership has promoted transparency and frequency of open, honest communications as to changes to the workplace environment, thereby managing expectations and reducing “unknowns” for employees. As stress reduction research shows, by limiting uncertainty employers can reduce anxiety and improve resiliency. Specifically, teams have been encouraged to have more informal “touchpoints” that embrace curiosity, solicit feedback, and invite both ideas for the future and ongoing concerns.
  • Change breeds innovation and if ever there is a time to embrace change, the time is now. There is an unprecedented opportunity to try new methods of communication, employee scheduling options, benefit design, product pricing strategies, cultural policies and protocols. For example, by positioning total wellbeing initiatives in a new way, offering empowerment tools that address financial, emotional or physical stressors (much of which we learned through the Pandemic), employers can offer employee options that result in performance and productivity gains.

Stronger. Many organizational value drivers have been strengthened vs lessened over the past year. What insights can share that so that we maximize our opportunities?

  • Digital transformation has allowed companies to connect in a powerful and personal way, even in the absence of face to face meetings. OneDigital leadership has learned a great deal about its employee population through digital pulse surveys and works to communicate and act on results. We’ve learned that employees bring their whole selves to work, their concerns are multi-dimensional and by addressing the concerns of the whole person we strengthen our retention, engagement and performance goals.
  • With a stronger focus on empathy, psychological safety, personal and organizational resiliency OneDigital promotes a diverse and inclusive environment. As work and home life boundaries have become more fluid, we believe that this approach results in creative and emotionally intelligent solutions that transcend to work with our clients as well. Some of our recently formed Employee Resource Groups include IDEAS (a DE&I group), Remote Employees, Working Parents and others that promote safe sharing spaces encouraged and supported by management.

Faster. Quick…what was one of the most surprising outcomes of the 2020 pandemic? Solutions that were implemented at near “warp-speed” and with unprecedented determination, confidence and an overwhelming “we can do it” attitude. As workplaces re-populate, what allows us to promote a long-term approach?

  • While in-person collaboration is almost nostalgic, we are harnessing a positive growth mindset that allowed agility and explosive speed to adopt new solutions in the past year. We offer continual recognition and kudos programs to highlight innovation and creative thinking, as well as high-performance deliverables.
  • Meeting efficiency is a small but impactful step that many organizations can adopt. For example, creating a practice of 45-minute meetings vs standing on hour slots, can open up 1-2 hours of time, a great productivity boost.
  • We encourage employees to allow for breaks, especially as Zoom meetings continue even in the return to work environment. Mindful, stress-reducing brain breaks are key to focus and productivity and easily ignored if management doesn’t promote these as key business tactics. Walking meetings are also a productive way to get both fresh air and team connection in one task.
  • Acting quickly on feedback and follow-up to employee suggestions is a way to support agile expectations. Leadership modeling of compassion and understanding demonstrated by quick response to concerns is a small way to show value to employees.

We know that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach for getting back into the workplace, but what we do know is that we are all navigating this together. The most important thing out of all of this is that when employees feel safe and heard, they can concentrate on doing their best work and living their best lives.

Your OneDigital team is here to help you navigate the return to the workplace environment. View our most recent HR employer advisory session, Maximizing Remote and Hybrid Work for Permanency, for insights on the strategies for optimizing the remote work experience, focusing on culture, communication, compliance, and compensation.