Managing return-to-work challenges in the new normal
Work from home and anywhere has become a global norm for the employees. As the new normal enters linearly into the life of the professional, it is understandable to ask “ Is return-to-work still a possibility? How can it be managed?” Naturally these uncertain topics will make everyone feel insecure and overwhelmed as they look forward into the future.
Rituparna Dasgupta, Talent & Development Leader, Intuit shared her company’s experience of how managers are enabling the return and for guidance to employers, workers and more on preventive measures for a safe return to work, not just physically but also mentally at People Matter’s EX India Conference 2021 .
Practices to ease in employees to return-to-work
Rituparna talked about how every organization has to make sure that before even opting for return-to-work challenges, they have to comply with the local health and safety conditions. Keeping that in mind, Intuit plans for three phases of opening :
- Soft Open - The concept behind soft open will be to assess the work condition of the office to see if they are any favorable to work.
- Partially Open - If the workplace seems at least half way ready, employees based on parity will be given a choice to come and settle down to work
- Fully Open - The workplace would open to full capacity with employees given a choice to come 2-3 days per week or continue work from home depending upon the work and life circumstances.
Rituparna emphasized that a hybrid workplace model is quite valuable to set up and needs ample designing of opportunities. “Before the pandemic, it was really a concern to be asked for tests and now, employees themselves want to be tracked, probed and surveyed by the time they reach the doorstep of the office”, she added.
Rituparna discussed how in the current scenario employees want flexibility and freedom in many of the components of their work schedule and shared the practice of fixed, flexible and free pieces that Intuit is offering their employees to operate upon.
Reimagining benefits in the new normal
Every organization since their inception, has preset operating mechanisms compiled by state laws, owner’s philosophy etc and an overarching philosophy & culture that the company wants to share with their employees and expects them to thrive within that. Yet since the pandemic entered everyone’s life, the benefits of the employees were re-imagined with the combination of fixed, flexible and free choice. For example - Intuit offers recharge benefits: An annual one week off in December and July for employees to recharge their batteries where the focus is on health, wellbeing and complete rejuvenation.
Similarly, in some components of the benefits, employees will have the freedom and flexibility to make a choice for themselves as per their life circumstances. For example, Intuit provides “supplement leaves” to employees to recharge themselves or choose them as per their own liking. Another facility that Intuit provides is the health reimbursements to be utilized by employees for any purpose they want like home equipment, financial consulting & planning, health monitors and more. Also, child care reimbursement has been re-imagined to allow employees to subset their ‘work from home’ costs and provide them with fixed, flexible and free choices.
Rituparna concluded her session by taking questions where she discussed about how empowering it is for teams and employees to decide when to WFH and when to work on site, which has a positive impact on their productivity. She also emphasized on keeping parity to ensure employees feel fair and clarified to the viewers that setting up a transparent infrastructure is quintessential for any organization if they really want to opt for on site workplaces so that they can confidently tell their staff, “ Hey! It's safe to come back now”.