Like many organizations across the country, POE brought our members back into the office this summer. We outlined our hybrid framework in previous blogs, explaining what the criteria is for working in the POE office and working from a remote location. Three months into functioning in a hybrid system, you may be curious about how it is going and what we have learned.
Overall, about 85% of members feel really good about being back, even the individuals who might have been reticent at first have come to see the value in being together with co-workers even a few days a week. Members are happy there are firm guidelines around when remote or in-person work is appropriate as it gives them the sense of ownership of their schedules. Being “treated like an adult” was an overwhelming answer to the question: “what is it that you like most about this framework?” This newly found autonomy gives members a sense of control and balance which is a key ingredient for a successful employee experience.
Most members are in the office 3-4 days per week, choosing their own hours, no longer limited to the typical 8 to 5 work-day. POE Project Coordinator Stephanie Wiltse says; “I enjoy working at home two days a week, I love being available to pick up and drop off by my boys from school, even though they are teenagers! It also allows me to have very productive un-interrupted focus times”. Members also really enjoy being able to avoid rush hour traffic. Commuting is one top reason for wanting to work remote. When office work is required the ability to choose when that work takes place and avoid traffic delays is appreciated. “I no longer have to wake up at 4am to go to the gym so I can make it to the office by 7am and it has been a game changer” says Katie Dyrland.
Of all POE members polled, everyone is very happy with how the framework has played out and are content with their schedules. However, there are a few challenges we are still working through.
As a dealership, POE traditionally hosts visitors, drop-in clients and manufacturer representatives on a regular basis. Pre-pandemic visitors could stop by any time during business hours and be (almost) guarantee their contact person would be there. Now that it’s safe to start having visitors, it isn’t as simple as just stopping by. It takes a bit more coordination to ensure the people you are hoping to interact with will be in the office when you pop-in. From manufacturer reps to our own teammates, it is now necessary to schedule those connections in advance to make sure their contact is in the office that day. This reduces our serendipitous conversations which often lead to innovation. It has increased the number of emails we send internally since all of those passing conversations now must be communicated in another way.
Overall POE has seen great success with our hybrid framework. To ensure our success, we must continue to be flexible, seek feedback, promote communication and continue to tweak our policies and procedures when necessary. The only constant in life is change and POE’s greatest strength is our agility, as an organization we anticipate change, work as a team to innovate and continue to evolve.