There’s a new headline every day regarding post-pandemic work life, and they aren’t necessarily painting a pretty or positive picture. Whether it’s “Returning to the office? Here’s How to Battle Your Social Anxiety” or “Employees are Quitting Instead of Giving Up Working From Home” – the media certainly isn’t HR’s best friend right now.
The past 14 months haven’t been the easiest on anyone, but for many of us, the silver lining was realizing what we actually wanted in a work-life balance. Going from five days a week in the office and constantly traveling for work meetings – to a full standstill working in our PJs – forced the corporate world to reevaluate well, a lot. And consumer surveys are showing that we’re still evolving in our attitudes and behaviors.
For example, last year, many of us believed the answer to this work-life balance was full-time remote work. A July 2020 Gallup poll revealed that only 28% of U.S. workers wanted to return to the office once coronavirus restrictions were lifted. But that number has steadily increased as time has passed, and is currently hovering at 39%. However, as with everything in life the grass isn’t 100% greener on either side of the proverbial (office) fence and employee opinions will likely continue to shift as the world reopens. So, what’s the right call as life gets back to a “new normal?”
We wanted to know the answer to that question. So, as a top place to work, we asked our employees directly, and frequently about their evolving preferences on work-life balance. Based on that feedback, as well as data provided from the CDC and local and state officials, ARPR rolled out its work schedule for the ‘new normal’ effective this summer.
Our post-pandemic work schedule creates a refreshed version of the hybrid workplace (another term that media finds really catchy for headline use these days).Our hybrid approach is defined as team members working both remotely (~2 days) and in the office each (~3 days) week creating a schedule that works best for them, while also employing a few fully-remote staff, too.
We did this, not because it’s en vogue, but because it is who we were before COVID quarantined us. Only now, what we previously called “responsible flexibility,” is enhanced, carrying forward the lessons we each learned about balance during the past year. I’m not mad at working by the pool on Fridays, but I sure have missed in-person Prof Dev opportunities with our awesome team. As ARPR’s chief operations and people office, perhaps I’m biased. So I thought I’d actually get a few team members to share with you why this new hybrid model works best for them, personally as well as for their teams.
“As a working parent, the pandemic spoiled me a little in that I was able to trade in commute time and get more facetime with my 4-year-old daughter, Avery. Now that we’re getting back to a ‘new normal,’ I’m thankful that I’m able to still get the facetime with her a couple of times a week, but also excited that I’ll have the balance of working from the office for those adult water cooler conversations and laughs that I’ve definitely missed while at home.” – Sr. Account Director, Christina Dela Cruz
“Over the course of the year, I’ve learned so much about work-life balance, my personal productivity style and how my environment plays a role in both. The truth is that remote work has emphasized the importance of maintaining that balance, but I have missed being in the office, physically interacting with my team and exchanging ideas in person. For me, embracing a hybrid work model will be the best of both worlds.” – Account Coordinator, Jhauane Cephas
“Before I came to ARPR, I’d mandatorily worked 100% remotely for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I prefer working in an office to working from home—I like keeping my personal workspace and living space separate, which can be tough to do in an apartment. Although I now work from ARPR’s office most work days, I also enjoy the flexibility that working from home provides. I know from talking to others that my preference for the office over working from home can often be the minority view. So, I appreciate that maintaining work-from-home capabilities in this hybrid model makes my co-workers happy, too! It definitely contributes to ARPR’s upbeat, positive vibe, which makes working here a pleasure :).” – Sr. Content Writer, Jason Axelrod
“Being hired on full time while working remotely taught me how to effectively communicate with my team using channels like Slack. Getting to take an extra hour out of my day to go for a walk or workout, while still working 8 hours, allows me to build in brain breaks and be a productive employee. But I also love that I’m able to go into the office, and see colleagues for the imperative face-to-face interaction and collaboration.” – Account Coordinator, Michelle Rand
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