October 21, 2021 | Authored by: Lana Moss
We are the people: Vindicia employees in a hybrid world
There’s a fascinating controversy rocking the business world right now. With the mass rollout of vaccinations and a slow reopening of post-COVID life, corporate leaders are asking:
“Is work-from-home really sustainable?”
So far, the jury’s out, and opinions differ wildly.
PricewaterhouseCoopers recently announced that it would allow staff to work remotely and from any location – forevermore. That’s one extreme.
At the other extreme, leaders at Netflix, JPMorgan and UBS believe that office life is a critical part of healthy, creative collaboration and career building – especially for younger employees. According to them, the end of WFH is inevitable, and should happen sooner rather than later.
Then you’ve got Apple, where an all-out internal battle about remote work is currently underway. The company is demanding that staff return to offices at least in a hybrid schedule. The workforce is fighting back with petitions and threats of resignation.
Where do we stand at Vindicia? It’s simple. We stand with our people.
People, not “human resources”
At Vindicia, we don’t do “human resources.” As Head of People, it’s my job to connect with our staff as the people they are, with complex lives made up of home, work, family, friends, pets, hobbies, commitments, desires, dreams, and goals. We realize that the future of employment is happening now, and we work hard every day to lead our people into that future, productively, passionately, and harmoniously.
People prefer hybrid
During the pandemic, the concept of work-from-home was literally a lifesaver. It enabled us to continue to do business, while maintaining social distancing necessary to slow the spread and protect health and lives.
As vaccines were administered in different locations, a return to the office became a possibility. Yet the workforce had changed. Employees discovered that they enjoyed the increased flexibility of working from home, less time commuting, more time to devote to family and self fulfilment, less stress, and more productivity.
At the same time, many people missed the close contact and interactions – big and small – that make up a rich and enjoyable workday.
The only answer, and the one that our staff indicated was their strong preference, is a hybrid balance of WFH and office attendance. So that’s what we delivered.
How we see hybrid
From our POV, hybrid is not just logistics – it’s a way of life. My personal and professional belief is that employee health and wellness leads to organizational health and wellness, and that leads to revenue dollars.
What’s at stake here is our people, and our business. Our business – the one we build and share together.
So, we turned “hybrid” on its head. Home is work, but at the same time, work is home.
Our challenge became how to fill the gap in engagement and keep people motivated and involved, even while working remotely. How can we recreate that coffee in the kitchen, or quick chat in the hallway, or weekly happy hour, when some or even most employees are at work at home? We soon realized the only way to do that is to be completely open and attentive to our employees’ needs, just as we are attentive to the needs of the business.
And we had to explore how to balance that approach in the healthiest and most effective way.
Mental health is...health
Once, HR would address your back pain by addressing your workstation. Now, we address much more than that; we address those moments when you are feeling burnt out, or worried about traveling with a non-vaccinated child, or isolated because of social distancing rules.
Reimbursing travel, providing lunch and snacks, professional training...sure, those are still important, but there is so much more to it now. Health is mental health. It’s emotional balance, and feeling secure, cared for and empowered at work. Now that work is home, or wherever you are, it is our job to ensure that mental health is assured there too.
Remotely, in the office, on Zoom, on a flight – wherever they are, our employees are the Vindicia people. In the new hybrid reality, we embrace every employee in their fullness as a unique individual, and that’s how it should be.
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