I delivered Rushmore’s first quarter town hall earlier this month. In that town hall, I expressed my optimism for 2022 and our collective expectation to hit a home run this year. A couple of topics I briefly covered and would like to expand on were work-life balance and returning to the office.
So many companies came up with return-to-office plans last year, only to have Delta and then Omicron disrupt those plans. Now, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, with speculation that Omicron may be the variant that turns this pandemic into an endemic. I don’t know; I’ll leave that to the medical experts.
As we await guidance from the CDC, I’ve also had my eye on news and reports about employee experiences working from home or on a hybrid schedule. As Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Well, I’ve been watching, and my takeaway is there may not be a one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to remote work and returning to the office.
The pros of working from home are obvious, including:
- No stressful commute.
- No transportation expenses and a lower carbon footprint.
- Super casual dress code (unless you must be on camera for a meeting).
- And my personal favorite: Taking advantage of our increased time at home to spend time with loved ones and celebrating moments that matter, like the birth of my new grandson.
But, working from home does have some cons, including:
- Longer hours: Remote employees worked more hours during the pandemic, according to this Forbes article. I’m pretty sure working longer hours is not a goal of work-life balance.
- Culture challenges: In my opinion, it’s much harder to build and maintain a strong company culture remotely, and culture and collaboration are a big deal at Rushmore.
- Mental health impacts: Remote employees during the pandemic suffered negative mental health impacts, including isolation and loneliness, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
A Hybrid Work Arrangement is the Obvious Choice, Right?
On the surface, a hybrid work arrangement seems like the perfect solution. But, our friends “across the pond” say otherwise. Initial enthusiasm in the UK for a hybrid work schedule has deteriorated into emotional exhaustion.
Human beings are creatures of habit, and it seems like the constant shifting from being remote some days to being on site other days is taking an emotional toll on hybrid workers. Plus, hybrid workers – like remote workers during the pandemic – work longer hours during their work-from-home days. Those extra hours will add up and potentially lead to burnout. Whether on site or remote, employees should not work extra hours just because. Do your work, do it well, then log off and focus on your personal life.
And Let’s Not Forget Our In-Office Team
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had a small group of dedicated employees reporting to the office, as usual. Rushmore has relied on the efforts of these amazing team players to keep the trains running, as regulations and role-based job duties require them to work in a physical location on a regular basis. I deeply appreciate their above-and-beyond efforts, and we continue to explore ways to make their jobs as flexible as possible.
Rushmore Workplace Strategy Underway
At Rushmore, we haven’t announced a decision on returning to the office. That said, we’re very excited about the transition to our new Texas office and are moving forward with tentative plans to move into that space this spring. Of course, the situation is fluid based on the ever-changing COVID landscape and issues related to the pandemic, such as supply-chain issues. We also have plans to spruce up our California and Oklahoma City locations shortly thereafter. We don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future of the game, but we’re stepping up to the plate and taking our best swing.
Whatever we decide, our employees’ well-being will be a top priority. We’re committed to providing timely updates as information becomes available — giving our team as much lead time as possible ahead of any changes. I know many of us are balancing the care needs of our families, so uncertainty about the future is understandably stressful. Our goal is to minimize anxiety so our employees can show up as their best self regardless of where they work.
And you know what? As we continue to share our plans and timelines, there’s a chance we’ll need to adjust based on company needs, customer needs and/or employee needs.
I think that’s the biggest key to all of this: remain flexible. As Ken Griffey Jr. said, “To succeed in baseball, as in life, you must make adjustments.” Change can be uncomfortable, but I’m asking our team to stretch in 2022, to be nimble and adaptable to change. It’s our ability to flex together that will make us a better team and help us achieve a collective victory. #AllForOne