With vaccinations on the rise, the number of Covid-19 cases is declining. Some businesses are planning their return to the office, while others have decided to remain permanently remote.
The reality is that life has changed, and although most of us are craving more human contact, there are benefits to working remotely. There’s also the psychological impact—working from home means less commuting and more autonomy, and some people won’t want to give this up. While there are those who are dreaming of going back to the office, others would prefer to opt out.
A recent New York Times article reported on the YOLO Economy—or a trend of Millennial employees quitting their jobs to follow their dreams. This is largely the by-product of the past year, in which rates of burnout have surged and we’ve all had time to think about what we really want to do with our lives, but it’s also a function of not wanting to return to the office and play by their company’s rules when they frankly haven’t had to for quite some time.
Companies wanting to maintain their relevance and their talent should take note. Rather than mandating workplace policies, you should be asking your employees what they want to do and crafting a plan that meets their needs and allows them to do their best work. If you don’t? Be prepared for top talent to leave.
Here are nine questions you should consider asking your team if you’re debating what the next step forward will be:
- Do you want to come back to the office?
- Do you want to be in the office for any portion of your time? If so, how many hours or days per week?
- What has or has not been working well for you as a remote worker, and how could we better support your remote experience?
- What kind of development or career support do you need in order to perform your best in the next year?
- Are you suffering from Zoom fatigue? If so, would one day a week without meetings be helpful?
- Do you feel safe coming back to the office? If not, what would make you feel safe having in-person gatherings at work?
- What has been your biggest challenge with work this past year as a result of the pandemic? What about your home life?
- How would you rate your own performance in the past year? And, what would you say was your biggest performance barrier?
- Do you have any other recommendations about how we can support you over the coming year?
Asking these questions will make your team feel acknowledged and understood, something that is critical to sustaining loyalty in the months ahead. Remember: Everyone has been suffering in their own unique ways, and as an organization, the more you demonstrate that you’re listening, that you care, and that you are open to ideas, the less likely you will lose the people you value the most.
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