Mapping out the Return to Workplace
Returning to the workplace has been on our mind since the office shut down in early March due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Who would have thought that the desire to work-from-home (WFH) everyday would manifest the way it did nearly nine months ago? Navigating the challenges and benefits of remote work, as well as a work plan that would support work restrictions based on CDC guidance around the Coronavirus risk, has been tricky but the idea of a successful return to the workplace has been on our minds. It’s a delicate subject and the Power Digital Marketing approach to “Return to Work” is no different than the way we approach all our adversities – we listen.
Listen to Your Team
With COVID 19 cases still rising and the risk still prevalent, you can take one look on Facebook or Nextdoor and see that not everyone has the same opinion about COVID 19 pandemic and what will keep them safe, and we know there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to personal comfortability. Child care, disability, and individual medical conditions are all things that factor into this idea of an employee’s return. As we get closer to the end of the year, a lot of teammates have been wondering what 2021 will look like at our office.
In response to these murmurs, we sent out a simple Google Survey so we could hear how our team members felt about returning to work. The survey gave only three options: come back to the office full time, have a flexible option (split time between the office and WFH,) or be fully remote. This approach allowed us to make sure that we gave every employee a voice with the intent of giving them the best experience possible that benefits their professional growth. There was no pressure behind this survey whatsoever; we gave every employee an opportunity to voice their opinions behind the matter.
Keeping the Lease
Power Digital has a very special culture of development, and unity is a big part of that. It is the big thing that makes our digital marketing services so strong. It may seem more economically sound to get out of your office lease if your team works well remotely. However, we felt that having a “home base” would be the best decision for our company, so opted to keep — and build upon! — our office space to prepare for the growth we have forecasted.
This works in our favor when allowing our team to make their own decision on whether or not they would like to return to the office, as we can plan safe seating arrangements and cleaning schedules knowing who will be there each day. We also have our outdoor space where teams can get together to strategize, and are located in a neighborhood prime for walk and talk meetings, so to us it is well worth keeping the lease.
In studying how our labor market has been impacted by the unprecedented times our economy has faced this year, a new role has emerged and is trending amongst those able or planning to safely return to work. Wellness Assistants are now a hot commodity, giving both temps and those looking for full-time work an opportunity to be involved in the safety procedures being implemented across the nation.
While the job description might vary by company, this type of role is solely focused on executing new protocols aligned with the CDC and state’s regulations surrounding sanitation, social distancing, temperature checks, contact tracing, and office shipping practices, among others. Some administrative and executive assistants are also taking on these responsibilities, giving them a unique and coveted opportunity to be the first line of defense in protecting their teams.
Additionally, hiring remote workforces is gaining steam. For those who never considered a remote workforce, it is now seemingly more attractive for a multitude of reasons. First, a more diverse talent pool. Second, an ability to hire top talent at a more affordable rate given cost of living in more rural regions. Third, to keep overhead down in the event keeping a lease is not an option for you. And last, to attract more diverse clients. Imagine having boots on the ground in all the major markets relevant to your industry?!
Remote Engagement — Now and Forever
While the date of our return remains unknown, keeping our culture alive and team members engaged continues to be one of our top priorities, especially as we introduce new team members remotely. From agency-wide virtual events, employee-led at-home virtual workouts, and multiple 1:1 onboarding buddies to weekly new hire spotlights and monthly rookie recognition, we remain steadfast in giving new team members the mic to meet the team.
Despite knowing the day will eventually come for us to return back to the office, we remain cognisant that Power Digital has forever evolved. Previously a hyper-local company based solely in San Diego, California, we are now a nation-wide agency with team members in Montana, New York, Arizona, up and down California, and more.
In-office events will be video streamed for remote team members, while ensuring speaker volume for remote workers will become a new crucial policy so as to not unknowingly leave remote workers silenced under in-office noise. A designated chat monitor may be warranted to ensure all remote parties are being attended to, whether a question arises or a comment is ready to be shared. All of which will feel very new to a portion of our team as many return to a previous “normal.” As we navigate the return, we will remain true to our promise to listen, learn, and iterate to meet the needs of our team — whether in office or remote.
Wrapping it Up
At the end of the day, it boils down to the people, especially here at Power Digital. Every single team member, no matter the department, is truly the heartbeat of our company. When you put your people first, show them they matter and their voice matters, work becomes exciting. When you have the right approach with your team about working again in the office, being remote, or hybrid — the communication and excitement of returning to work is there. By following workplace safety protocol, using mandated personal protective equipment, and making reasonable accommodation, we are doing everything we can to make the office a safe place. We cannot control what happens with coronavirus, but we can control how we are proactive about the right protocols with the team and safety.