Plans are underway – or being implemented right now – for many employees to return to their offices “post”-COVID. We won’t weigh in on the health and safety issues of a return to physical cohabitation during the work day. We WILL join McKinsey in sounding the alarm about a potential problem.

Your people may not be as eager to get back as you are to have them in the office. And employees are more uncertain than ever about their relationship to work in general. So now is the time for leaders to have open minds and hearts and engage with their people. Specific suggestions from McKinsey include:

1. Acknowledge that the transition to hybrid model(s) will take years to get right. It’s a grand experiment, and no one knows how it will really go.
2. Get to know what your workers are REALLY trying to tell you, not just what they say. (What are the beliefs behind the words? They are vital, and it requires deep listening.)
3. Experiment (and be clear that is what it is), learn and adapt your operational models.
4. Stop denying the disconnect between what senior leaders and other workers want. (Senior leaders want people at office; workers aren’t so sure.)

The questions people are asking about the role of work in their lives have been a long time coming. As we navigate the “new normal,” it’s vital to remember that our employees are humans first and foremost. Paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut, “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Need guidance on how to communicate with your employees or navigate these challenging times? Have an impactful strategy you’d like to share? Comment below or message us anytime.


Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash