Tag Archives: return to work

Rethinking Leadership, Workplaces, and Why Places are Important

Partnership of business concept. Business network.By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

The last 18 months have challenged leaders in every home office and corner of the world. Whether you are leading a large staff or a small but mighty team, the way we work together is fundamentally different (and yet very much the same).  Many leaders will be ready to leave remote work and get staff back to the office in a return to the familiar patterns and schedules that shaped our professional lives. Yet many aren’t quite ready to do that, as demonstrated by a hesitancy to return to work as we knew it.  The nature of work has been evolving for some time. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these changes and made evident both our resistance to change as well as our resiliency and adaptability.

At a fundamental level, there are significant budgetary and logistical challenges faced by our industry. How do our teams shift their work and operations while leveraging technology to be more efficient as we move forward? Our industry is innovating and learning every day–our members, bloggers, authors, and volunteers share their thoughts and insights as we navigate these questions together.

As an industry, we are focused on revenue recovery and rebuilding our operations and programming. We are also focused on the health and well-being of our families, teams, and communities. In the face of the pandemic, we were all forced to take a step back in the interest of that well-being.

Our people are our greatest asset, and leaders must recognize that their teams have been subject to a period of prolonged stress and trauma. Industry professionals learned (and continue to work through) tough lessons leading teams that became remote overnight.  We may need to adapt and cultivate skills sets that may not have been as essential in the past. Emotionally mature and relational leaders are needed now, more than ever.

Temple University Fox School of Business Real Estate Program & Temple Real Estate Organization (TREO) hosted the “Real Estate Optimization and Social Infrastructure in a Post-COVID World Symposium” recently. Panelists and speakers addressed how real estate can and should respond post-pandemic to shifting trends.  Kay Sargent, director of workplace at HOK, emphasized that the return to normal shouldn’t be placed on autopilot. Her comments (paraphrased here) struck me as both insightful and difficult to answer: Returning to the office of yesterday is not the answer. What does the workplace of the future look like? How do we create and rebuild social capital and rethink the importance of place, and embrace a human-centric standpoint to create better workplaces and communities at large?  Let’s talk about it–please share your thoughts with us!

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPMI’s vice president of program development.

Returning to Work in the New Normal

Paul B. Johnson Commons at Ole Miss
Paul B. Johnson Commons at Ole Miss.

By Richard L. Bradley, CAPP

The University of Mississippi has started inviting faculty and staff back to campus for work. We were well taken care of during our campus shutdown, which stretched from mid-March until July 1, and paid administrative leave was allowed for those with positions not conducive to a remote working environment. As we all found out, service industries find it nearly impossible to function during pandemics.

Now we have been challenged with bringing staff back in a safe environment. Is that even possible for higher education campuses? College campuses share the same risk level during a virus breakout as cruise ships. Would you want to go on a cruise right now? Would you want to be staffed on one of those ships? Would you send your child on a cruise? These are the questions our staff members are wrestling with right now.

I work for a great university that ranks high on the Modern Think list of Great Colleges to Work For every year. We currently offer two programs to assist our staff during these times: Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave. These offer relief to staff members who are sick or have a close family member who is sick with COVID-19, anyone that is quarantined by local policy, those considered high risk due to an underlying condition, or those with child care needs due to care provider and school closures.

I consider us lucky to have these programs provided by our state. These programs provide equity and support for our staff. This will provide a sense of safety to our staff they often do not feel in other jobs. Providing information to employees is crucial. Without the information, opportunities might be missed and costly staff turnover could ensue.

Richard L Bradley, CAPP, is manager of administrative affairs, department of parking & transportation, at The University of Mississippi.