Negotiating Post-Covid Benefits

As companies open again, employers may have discovered that a new normal may increase employee satisfaction and productivity. For example, remote work may have worked best for some, while others prefer the socialization of the workplace. Here are some things to consider:

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY

Employees who have worked remotely for more than a year may be hesitant to return to the office full time, instead preferring a flexible or hybrid office schedule. If possible, offer employees the option to work from home a few days a week. This means your employees will be happier and it may allow you to reduce the footprint of your office space, saving your business money.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

With employees requesting more flexibility, it might mean that perks — like an on-site gym or coffee bar — may not be valued as much by a workforce that doesn’t frequent the office. Some employees may elect to give up these small perks to have a flexible work schedule.

MONITOR PRODUCTIVITY

It might be easy to fall into the trap of requiring more from remote employees because they no longer have to commute. Don’t expect them to substitute their former commute time with more working hours. Demanding hyper-productivity can lead to burnout, frustration and negativity that may cause hard-working employees to quit. Respect normal working hours and avoid meetings or phone calls outside of that time frame.

BRING IT BACK IN

If you determine that you need your employees to return to the office, respect that some of them may have safety concerns.

Also acknowledge that returning to the office, after more than a year of remote work, will be an adjustment. Employees will need to acclimate to the high-stimulus environment of the worksite, with sounds and activity all around them. This can create sensory overload initially, so prepare for employees to ease back into the office. Every company is different and any changes need to work well for yours.