In a recent blog, entitled The New Normal Will Require RE2ST3, I asserted one of the components of the new normal will be long-term work from home (telework). I believe this shift will require all organizations to examine key factors associated with employee engagement. That is the topic of this blog post.
Let me share some data and information relevant to our collective experiences over the last few months, as massive rapid shifts to telework occurred.
Bloomberg Business reported on a study of 3.1 million people at more than 21,000 companies in 16 cities around the globe, comparing workforce behaviors over two eight-week periods one before and one after pandemic shifts to telework:
A Bloomberg report on U.S. workers concluded:
Recognizing the shift to remote work as a permanent change, the sports outfitter REI, has recently put its almost completed eight-acre new corporate headquarters on the market. Designed for the outdoor lifestyle the campus included such amenities as a fire pit, a blueberry bog, courtyards with native plants, and al fresco conference rooms. According to REI's chief customer officer, Ben Steele, "We're a national organization, and life outdoors looks different in, say, Atlanta than it does in Seattle than it does in Minneapolis or L.A." REI's stores are dispersed why shouldn't the same be true for HQ personnel.
Recognizing the stress and burn-out of employees, a large tax auditing firm, Withum, decided to give every employee Friday, August 28th off with instructions to disconnect and use the day to reset and recharge.
In late May 2020, cognizant of the strain on employees, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, working with a group of IBMer's issued an eight-point work from home pledge to and for employees:
Your organization and its leaders probably have to address the new reality of some permanent work from home. A workforce pledge may be an option to consider. It may also be appropriate to acknowledge the added stress by having a periodic day to reset and recharge. Whatever you do, the Baldrige Excellence Framework offers some criteria questions that take on new meaning in the "new normal." Even if you have addressed all the criteria questions in the last year, it may be time to reconsider your answers. Here are some examples of topics to readdress (also proving the benefit of using the Baldrige framework in all situations):
If a work from home pledge is right for your organization, how will you involve the workforce in its development? If it is not a good fit for your culture, why not? And, the big question, how will you maintain the all-important engagement of your workforce (without burnout)?
Please let me know how your organization is addressing these questions.
The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.
I sincerely appreciate your efforts and wishing all the very best