Returning to the Office: Commonly Asked Questions

Updated: Aug 25

As the return to the office will most certainly be an adjustment for many employees this year, there are bound to be a lot of questions. As companies are beginning to unleash their strategies for moving forward in a post-pandemic world, there have been an array of mixed emotions. While some employees are enthusiastic to return to the office, others may be skeptical, which is why it is important for companies to address these concerns and accommodate accordingly. For most questions, the answers will vary depending on your company’s guidelines and policies. Below you will find some commonly asked questions regarding the move back to in-person work.

As It Was:


“What will remain the same in the workplace?”


For many employees, they had to leave their workplaces rather abruptly and adapt to an online workplace environment rather quickly. It is difficult to say what will remain the same and what will change, as different companies have different policies and processes. However, one thing that will most likely remain as a common practice is physical distancing and the use of PPE’s. To accommodate this, employers may have to reevaluate their workplace set-up, put together schedules, and arrange for routine cleaning and sanitization. That is why it is best to consult with your employer to see what these changes will mean for your position.


Hybrid:


“How many days will I need to come into the office?”


Depending on the pace of the RTO plan, there may be some flexibility to work from home at least part of the time during the work week. This also heavily depends on the nature of your role, and whether or not it would require you to be in-person more often than not.


Remote:


“Can I continue to work remotely?”


The answer to this question will vary depending on your employer's RTO plan. That is why it is best to consult with your manager or employer if you are unsure how their upcomings plan may affect your working environment. Generally speaking, many companies are enthusiastic to return to in-person work at some point, with varied flexibility. However, according to employment law lawyer Brett Schneider, it is important to note that many employers will likely expect their employees to return to in-person work full-time. He also notes however, that there are also exceptions to this.


Work From Anywhere:


“Can I work remotely from a different location or time zone?”


Depending on your employer’s policies in working internationally, this could be an option. However there are lots of things to take into consideration. How will moving to a new time zone or geographical location affect my working hours? How will it affect the benefits that I receive as an employee? If there are any uncertainties, chat with management to discuss next steps and any alternative options.


Ultimately, there is no perfect answer to any of these questions as it will completely depend on how your employer plans to move forward. However, these are great starting points to potentially initiate a conversation with your company and raise any concerns that you would like to be taken into consideration. The key to any successful change is proper communication -- so commencing a dialogue about what the future will hold for your role is important.


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Citations:

  1. Cleeland, N. (2020, May 6). Bringing them back: questions for hr from returning workers. Retrieved July 2, 2021, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/bringing-them-back-questions-for-hr-from-returning-workers.aspx

  2. Neeley, T. (2020, March 16). 15 questions, about remote work, answered. Retrieved July 2, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2020/03/15-questions-about-remote-work-answered

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