So this week, our survey asked 1,426 of these workers, the ones holding down the fort, many of the same questions. Essentially, when should their remote colleagues come back? The consensus among frontliners, and between them and their laptop-toting peers, is remarkable.
An overwhelming 91.4% of non-remote employees believe their organizations should wait to have remote workers join them. When would the ideal time be?
That makes almost 77% who say the separation should last at least another month, compared to nearly 72% of their remote associates who felt the same way last week and more than 66% who share that opinion this week.
When asked why, the rationale was also similar. If remote workers don’t need to be on site yet, frontliners say, then it’s not worth the risk. Verbatim:
Many non-remote employees are just as concerned about how their organizations will reintegrate as when. Specifically, they want to know what new safety measures will exist, and how those measures will scale and be managed when supplies and people are already stretched thin.
Another recurring theme was comprehensive testing. As one respondent put it, “I think everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. Weekly tests if they go into the office. But our city cannot even test the amount of people it needs to normally. Nothing should change until we can test more.”
In organizations that employ both remote and non-remote workers, there’s always been a divide. And this once-in-a-century crisis continues to underscore how different the employee experience is for these two groups.
However, as with any challenge-wrapped opportunity, organizations should acknowledge and confront this one. Just because the two experiences are different doesn’t mean they can’t both be positive. The key will be helping each side appreciate the other—and feel appreciated—more.
If that sounds like some less-than-prescriptive advice, it is. This is a difficult question with no easy answer. In world were everything will be new for a while, organizations must consciously take steps toward more equitable cultures.
Fortunately, when it comes to deciding the right time to reunite, employees already share a lot of common ground and perspective.
Stay tuned to our COVID-19 weekly culture pulse surveys for insights that will help your organization to weather the storm.
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