Advice on returning to the office benchmarking to best practices by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts @gleb_tsipursky
With the vaccine situation improving, many are thinking about returning back to the office. Thought it might be helpful to provide advice on benchmarking to best practices on this topic. The best practices are described in my white paper at this link: https://tinyurl.com/TheOfficeReturn
The white paper draws both on extensive external research and on 61 interviews conducted by me with mid- and senior-leaders in 12 organizations that I advised on the strategy for returning to the office. If the link doesn’t work for you, I’d be happy to send a PDF.
The white paper has an executive summary for skimming and a table of contents for any sections where there's an interest in digging deeper. I reproduced the Executive Summary here for your convenience.
Many leaders have a preference for in-person work. Yet research conclusively demonstrates that those employees who can do so have a strong preference to work remotely much of their time, and a large minority of them all of the time. Moreover, remote workers show substantial productivity gains, cost savings, and risk mitigation. Mental blindspots called cognitive biases often inhibit leaders in seeing this clear conclusion. The best approach to returning to the office involves a hybrid-first model with some limited full-time remote options. Doing so will enable organizations to excel in retention and recruitment, boost productivity, re-energize company culture, gain substantial cost savings, and manage a wide variety of risks. In transitioning strategically to a hybrid-first model, benchmark to best practices. That involves first surveying your employees to get both information on their specific needs and buy-in for whatever policies you implement. The survey should serve as the basis for top leaders providing broad guidelines involving one to three days in the office. Offer full-time remote options for those workers who can show they can be effective and efficient remotely. Then, use a team-based approach to determining the details. Have each team leader of rank-and-file employees, in consultation with their team members and their peers, make decisions about what their team’s schedule will look like. Based on that, downsize office space. Reshape it to focus on collaboration versus individual work. Revise employee performance evaluation to focus on tasks, not time spent. Ensure a regular weekly evaluation process that provides both hybrid and fully remote employees with a constant awareness of where they stand and what they need to do to improve. Adapt company culture to the new hybrid-first model strategically, addressing challenges of connection of employees to each other and to the company as a whole. As part of doing so, address diversity-related issues, such as technology-based discrimination. Train your staff to succeed in this hybrid model by helping them understand how to divide their work between collaboration in the office and individual tasks at home; likewise, boost their virtual and hybrid communication and collaboration skills. Finally, offer appropriate funding for their home office needs. Taking these steps will maximize your competitive advantage in the most important resource: your people.
Please forward to anyone you think might find this helpful. Happy to chat about any questions you or they might have - let folks to whom you forward it know this. Thank you!
- CEO of the future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, LLC, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities.
- A best-selling author, I wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide (Intentional Insights, 2017), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Resilience: Adapt and Plan for the New Abnormal of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (Changemakers Books, 2020).
- Cutting-edge thought leader, with over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues such as Fortune, Time, Fast Company, CBS News, Newsweek, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Business Insider, Inc. Magazine, NPR, CNBC, and USA Today
- Gain free access to my "Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace" and my "Wise Decision Maker Course" with eight video-based modules