I've been thinking a lot — especially lately — about many companies' failure to take care of employees. I think one of the biggest failures is a lack of flexibility, and that's coming to the forefront now in a big way with the discussion of remote work.
Although some companies have already made the shift to offering their employees the ability to work from home indefinitely, that's just not a viable option for many businesses across the country. But the answer is not to fall back to an inflexible model of the past where failure to see an employee at the water cooler five days a week creates distrust.
In the many years I was in PR before I started my own business, working remotely just wasn't an option. Every boss I had made it clear that face time (not the iPhone kind) was paramount, particularly when I was in a leadership role myself. Most companies were still largely inflexible before the pandemic. In March, they were forced to bend, and now we're at another crossroads where companies will have to find the new normal. And I hope they take that journey with their employees in mind.
I don't think the result will be 100% remote work forever; long-term office leases and the obvious benefits of personal interaction will make sure of that. On the other end of the spectrum, requiring employees to take a vacation day to meet a plumber at their apartment or go to a doctor's appointment isn't the best option for a business or an employee.