“A year later, the employees are still traumatized, they don’t feel good around others”, assures David Rock, head of the NeuroLeadership Institute in the United States. “There is a lot of worry, adds Helio Fred Garcia, professor of leadership and ethics at Columbia University. You do not know who is vaccinated. Wearing a mask is a political issue. Some could be aggressive, insult their colleagues, or even become violent. “
70-year-old New Yorker Isabel works in the accounting department of a small household items distribution company. All her life, she went to the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And then the Covid-19 arrived and she took refuge in her home. A change that she greatly appreciates. “I am much more productive, she says. Nobody interrupts me. I am no longer under pressure, I no longer have this obligation to stop everything at 5 pm. In fact, I finish when I finish and I have dinner later. ”
How does she manage relationships with other employees? “I have an agreement with my subordinates. When I call them, they have to call me back within the hour. No more old routine, she adds. I no longer think about appearances. “ Isabel does not yet know what the management of her company of 1,400 employees will decide in September. She hopes for a hybrid solution, three days at home, the rest at the office.
“A change of culture”
Bruce Ennis, head of human resources at private equity firm Heartwood Partners, prefers the “Office camaraderie”. At home, he explains, “There are distractions”. He has two children and too often wants to watch sports on TV. However, Mr. Ennis also advocates the hybrid solution. Because the new recruits ask for it and the personnel in place could leave the ship if they were not offered a certain flexibility. “There is no new normal after Covid, he blurted out. You learn by doing it. “
The gradual return to the company is not easy. A Harvard Business School survey of remote workers shows that 81% of them prefer a hybrid schedule. And 61% are in favor of two to three days a week in the office. When management thinks about the post-epidemic, they know they won’t just pick up on the same old days.
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