|What has been one of the greatest challenges in bringing people back to the office?
Settling on an approach that works for multiple groups with differing needs is daunting. For certain teams the best option is having a few people work onsite five days a week. For others it makes more sense to accommodate a rotating schedule so that a larger group all has an opportunity to work in-office but on a rotating schedule. Yet others would be best served with intermittent opportunities to enter the building for individual needs and/or group working sessions. Fortunately, the leaders here are determined (and flexible) so we have coordinated together successfully so far.What’s the biggest surprise?
People really do want to come back to the office! Along with the benefits of a work from home arrangement also come challenges, of course. Despite that, I was surprised to see that so many were willing to take us up on the offer of participating in a pilot RTO effort. It has been great to see these smiling faces again.
If you could share two lessons learned, what would they be?
It’s tough to balance reasonable caution with over-reaction. We had a situation wherein we learned of a COVID-19 exposure which affected a non-cohabitant family member of an employee. Our first hiccup in RTO world, we went full swing and sent everyone home, had the place sanitized again and reduced the number of folks coming back in for a short time. In hindsight, that was maybe a little much. Next time we may approach slightly differently. But again, it’s a delicate balance keeping everyone effectively working and safe.
Gannett employees are one dedicated bunch! OK, I already knew this, but am reminded of it when I see the group coming in each day to a mostly empty office as part of the RTO pilot, when I saw the folks sent home on “exposure scare day” and immediately back online continuing to work, and when I hear from others who are happily working away despite the distraction of spouses, children, dogs, cats, doorbells, etc.