The return to offices it is putting organizations to the test. Without necessarily representing a majority movement or even becoming a social labor trend, the truth is that a reasonable number of collaborators are thinking carefully about what to do despite the insistent call from their organizations.
There is no casual decision. Only the impact of transportation on people’s income/expenditure is already a significant variable and one to take into account. On the one hand, we are talking about the cost of going from home to the workplace, plus the energy debit that is invested in the transfer. To this, we must add the amounts to be exercised for the purchase and preparation of food, among others. Pure economic/time factor It already stops the desire to return.
What used to be part of the personal or family budget, today could mean a decrease. And, after all, why should it be mandatory to return to the offices if it has been shown that it is possible to be effective and productive remotely? Additionally, even when the epidemiological traffic light is officially green, there are not a few who consider that the protection measures must be firmly maintained. Why expose yourself to coexistence and social interaction if it is not essential?
In other words, if work is ceasing to be a place, an idea that prevailed until before the Covid-19 pandemic, what awaits us? what will happen to the offices? I have no doubt that these labor centers In particular, they should not recover that dynamic where they assist with the interest of sending emails and answering calls.
Offices, meeting rooms and other points for work they are much more than spaces to arrive and carry out routine tasks. I agree with those who emphasize that these are scenarios where people generate social intelligence at very different levels, building daily life of course and, above all, organizational learning.
The new style of relationship that we have developed through distance communication has promoted, mainly, the strengthening of interactions and bonds within the teams; say, between the leaders and their immediate collaborators. But what has happened to the most widespread networks in the organization?
Those meetings between colleagues or coworkers, beyond meetings and responsibilities, they were practically suspended and, not a few experts point out, it is through them that understanding, reproduction and production of knowledge flow. I am referring to everything that goes from the most basic such as knowing where the photocopier is located and how it works, to how to carry out one of the many actions foreseen in policies, manuals and procedures.
Human Resources now faces the far from simple task of promoting, motivating and even convincing people of the benefits it represents back to the offices. Achieving it implies, first of all, having a more precise idea of who we are in the company. I mean, our demographics beyond the cliché of generations.
Today we must deal more deeply with the profile of people and their needs to better design the value proposition that the organization will offer them. Otherwise, many more than we think will begin to confirm their real resignations from the team or, worse, will implement a psychological resignation because they are not being taken into account and, however, they will continue to be part of the company.
We cannot leave anything to chance. Knowing and understanding what each individual requires becomes much more complex as the number of partners increases. Hence we must make use of all the data and information availableto translate them into the best quality strategy.
We have a lot to reflect on and, above all, get down to work to design and quickly implement a determining program in stages of return to offices. I am referring to one where the idea that deprives of substance is the flexibility that allows us to reach a balance between what the company requires and the new expectations and demands of people.
*The author is General Director of the Mexican Association of Human Resources Management (@Amedirh)