A couple of blog posts ago I was excited and even determined to stop writing posts that were related to COVID-19. Afterall, it was on the wane. More and more people were stepping up to get the vaccine. Schools planned to reopen for in-class learning. Companies were anxiously anticipating a return to some form of ‘normal’ that would bring employees back into the office environment in some form.
Yet, today, September 9, it seems that reality makes this our pipe dream. It does appear that reclaiming what we have wanted and strive to have is actually an illusionary plan and hope. While many organizations grapple with and come to accept their own realistic situation we are left to readjust our own thinking that match the reality that is now.
The organizations of which many are a part are diligently working to figure out how they want to deal with the resurgence that has moved recovery backwards. It also requires that those of us who are a part of such an organization readjust our thinking. What are we going to be required to do that will best enable us to carry on in the safest possible way … when we have little or no choice?
Without question what COVID imposed on all created situations about which we had little knowledge or experience in terms of the best or right way to navigate these waters. Suffering has been widespread from all sides. Businesses scrambled to figure out how to function with a remote workforce. They had to provide the needed equipment and tools that would enable their teams to function well working as such. For many, their costs skyrocketed while their sales often dwindled. It is no wonder that they have been chomping at the bit to return to the days and plans of old. Thus they are making decisions that are as much emotion based as fact-based. The path they ultimately choose to follow is most often NOT in the employees control. Here are some of these things:
- When the organization mandates that all employees return to the office to do our jobs.
- What the organization mandates as appropriate COVID related circumatances … masks? distancing?
- How flexible an organization will be when it comes to a need to attend to school aged children … more and more of whom are being returned to a remote learning situation as COVID resurges in the school environment.
- To the extent to which the organization will mandate that vaccinations will be required in order for someone to resume their job in the office which the company wants.
- The extent to which the leaders of the organization will listen to the wants and needs of the team member which can clash with their desire to return to the way it was.
Still, there are things over which employees do have control as follows:
- The feasibility of returning to the office environment given other responsibilities that require involvement at home i.e. children in a remote learning situation.
The willingness of getting the vaccine … or not. This appears to be a contributing factor to the resurgence of COVID and yet, each person has some basis for the decision they make.
- The level of comfort we have in being in a close work environment and what we are willing to do if we have very real concerns.
- The ultimate decision as to remaining with an organization that has intentions and mandates that go against our personal comfort and beliefs.
Much has been written of late pertaining to employees making the decision to leave a job and also about the challenge of employers being able to find qualified people to step into one. The uniqueness of todays world seems to demand that the right answer to what is the best of all worlds. It is one that will be derived because business leaders and their team members work together to devise a solution that caters to the full spectrum of issues and challenges.
In the meantime and to avoid a return to last year, accepting the fact that this isn’t over is critical. Taking the big breaths that will allow us to continue in the world of the past 17 months at the same time we believe and hope that by our doing that, we will, in fact, finally be able to emerge into the world … one for which we hope and want.