WV business community looking beyond pandemic | News

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out and restrictions are lifted by Gov. Doug Ducey, CEOs are facing pressure to make decisions about when and how professionals will return to office work.

Reports say that by midsummer, a good portion of the working-age population should be vaccinated, which will play a significant role in how and when employees go back to work.

“Because of such hopeful signs, CEOs at companies that remained all-remote (during the pandemic) are starting to think seriously about how and how much to bring their employees back to the office, and how to best answer questions about policies and timelines their boards will soon ask,” said Dan Ciampa, a former CEO and adviser to boards and chief executives.

“They realize that, given all that has happened over the last year, more employees than ever before will work remotely, and for tasks that can be done more efficiently that way, investments in technology are necessary,” he said.

Roughly 20% of workers will remain remote employees, according to several studies.

However, if the past year has taught us anything, it is that nothing is as straightforward as it may appear, and returning to “normal” will be a long, arduous process.

In a Feb. 25 Harvard Business Review article, Ciampa said that with all of the uncertainty about what lies ahead, it is important to avoid steps that either will create unrealistic expectations or limit options.

Experts agreed.

Kyle Freese, Ph.D., MPH, chief epidemiologist at Phoenix-based health technology company STChealth, and Dr. Scott Hamstra, chief medical officer at STChealth and a practicing infectious disease pediatrician, have been consulting for various organizations throughout the country, designing and implementing return-to-workplace strategies.

They encourage business owners to seek reliable information and expertise from a variety of sources as they make challenging logistical decisions.


Returning to work,


As workers prepare to return to the office, productivity, communication and collaboration are at the forefront of every manager’s mind.

But what can and should employees expect when they return?

Many have become accustomed to the rather short commute from the kitchen to their home office, and those reduced drive times have positively impacted work/life balance.

Across all industries, business leaders are using the lessons from this large-scale, work-from-home experiment to reimagine how work is done — and what role physical offices should play.

According to McKinsey research, 80% of people surveyed reported they enjoyed working from home, and 41% said they are more productive than they had been before; about 28% said they are as productive.

Many workers who were liberated from long commutes and business travel found more productive ways to spend that time, enjoyed greater flexibility in balancing their personal and professional lives, and decided that they prefer to work from home rather than the office.

Commercial real estate experts say new office space is being engineered for maximum social distancing, touch-free operations and air and surface sanitation.

“In addition to those features, employees are looking for practical answers for how they will safely navigate the workplace upon their return,” said Paul Komadina, Phoenix-based senior managing director at CBRE.

Komadina said regardless of how workspaces are being configured, offices are being prepared for near-term occupancy with COVID-19 safety protocols and considerations in mind.

According to the most recent data from CBRE, 93% of the firm’s clients are preparing for office re-entry with social distancing floor plans, 93% are also implementing an increased/modified cleaning schedule, and 74% have a phased re-entry plan. Additionally, CBRE property management professionals are reporting a shift in the…

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