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By Labor Day, new workplace norms will be set

Even those that have already set post-pandemic policies are tweaking them. Now’s your chance to listen and adapt.

The future of remote work. (Graphic by via Penji)

Written by Technically Media CEO Chris Wink,’s new Culture Builder newsletter features tips on growing powerful teams and dynamic workplaces. Below is the latest edition we published. Sign up here to get the next one this Friday.

An employee left their company in March because they dawdled on finalizing their remote work policy. Then the company confirmed they would shift to being remote-first, with their D.C.-area office an optional perk. Soon after another employee left because they want to return to more in-person time.

“We managed to get it wrong twice,” the CEO told me last week with a self-deprecating chuckle.

Companies around the world have been forced into entirely new habits. Now many are buckling down and putting into writing what their new policies will be. As if CEOs need any more reason to feel timid, they’re making these decisions amid talk of The Great Resignation, in which two of five professionals report they’re planning to quit.

Surprised by pushback, one mid-sized regional corporate CEO backtracked on his company’s internal memo that they were expecting staff to be back in office by Labor Day. They’re readjusting to include more remote flexibility. I’ve heard others continue to tweak decisions they made earlier this year. I know I’m still finding my own preferred mix of home and office.

Summer is proving a natural testing period. Open the office to those who want a third space, survey your team and talk to as many as you can about when and where they’re most productive. Be open to shifting now because you’ll need clarity soon. The mold seems destined to be cast come September.

To do this, return to the basics — even if you think you’ve already solved this. As we’ve reported, you need to ask: What kind of company are you?

  • Remote only: no office
  • Remote first: office optional
  • Remote flexible: office preferred
  • Office based: office required (with some work-from-home policy)

You’ll also need to assess the compensation implications of hiring a distributed workforce. Don’t discount salaries for employees in lower-cost markets, and consider a “cost of living stipend” for those in more expensive regions.

Tell your employer brand story by focusing on the people who make your organization thrive and who appreciate the culture and remote stance you’re taking. As that CEO learned, whatever new policy you incorporate after COVID, it won’t be ideal for everyone. We as people and our companies have changed. The fit might not be there anymore. That’s OK. Do what’s best for the organization and accept the changes that follow.

And now the links.

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