The default topic of conversation at the CHRO roundtable these days: A return to the office and what that may look like from an emotional, logistical, and operational perspective. Just a few months ago, meeting in person felt far-off and borderline faux pas, but as vaccinations are rolled out en masse, it may finally be time to iron our business casual and load up our E-ZPasses.
But that begs the question—to head where, exactly? Back to the desks that have been collecting dust behind locked doors, or somewhere new? Although we haven’t yet worked out all the specifics, and less than 20% of leaders have solidified their go-forward plans, the verdict’s no longer out on the future of the “office.” It will be fluid, accessible, and collaboration-forward.
We’ve spent the last year and a half in a frenzied state—inventing protocols and policies on the fly, morphing to local guidelines, and monitoring the ebb and flow of COVID cases with a watchful eye. While this transient way of working is a powerful testament to human resilience, organizations now face a fork in the road: reimagine the workplace altogether or regress.
While it’s easy to believe the path forward is entirely at the discretion of executives and leadership teams, this simply isn’t the case—at least not when we think of the long-term impact of post-pandemic work culture on all other dimensions of the business like employee life cycle, talent acquisition, and service model. The way to attract and retain both customers and talent moving forward? Democratize decision-making and put employee feedback at the helm of the future work model.
To gauge the general sentiment around returning to work and get your wheels turning on what people-first policy looks like in practice, we conducted a survey of CHROs and HR leaders from a wide spectrum of industries. We’re sharing the most poignant findings in an interactive report that just may deliver the inspiration—and the numbers—you need to finally let go of that long-standing nostalgia for the past and put on your thinking cap to help guide your organization to workplace enlightenment.