On Wednesday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, Best Strategies for Returning to Work. A huge thank you to our panelists, Tracey Wiedmeyer, CTO at Incontext Solutions, Tom Gergets, CTO at McDonald’s and Ken Kennedy, President, Technology, and Product at CSG for sharing their knowledge and strategies on returning to work. Thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed.  

What are your companies’ plans for returning to the workplace? 

All three panelists had a similar plan for their companies returning to work. Most would be returning in phases between 20%-30% capacity. They all emphasized that the most important thing was making sure employees feel safe when they do return. One recommendation for constructing a plan was to start with the policies your building has implemented. Other recommendations include PPE available to everyone, office cleanings, and testing of employees.  

How are you addressing your Agile workspace? 

Many will be limiting the use of small meetings room and continue to keep 6ft distance between all employees. It’s important to find tools that allow for collaboration and Agile practices even if you are phasing a percentage of employees back. It is important to find tools that can store meeting notes that would usually be on a whiteboard and have the ability to store files.  

 What is the benefit of returning to the office if only small percentages of employees are there at any point in time? 

The benefit of returning to the office with only a small percentage of employees is that there will be that realization that there is a wide range of employees. Also, giving employees the option on whether they want to return right away or not will help them feel safe when they do decide to come back. Looking at returning to the office long term, there is the question of what we are going to do with our office space if everyone is continuing to work from home. For the sake of people’s mental health, many people are wanting to get out and are looking forward to interacting with their co-workers. What’s missing from working in the office is the day to day drive-by conversations.  

How are you handling the “fear” of coming back to work? 

There will be times that it’s encouraged for people to come to the office, and there will be times that it is not. If employees are hesitant about returning to the office, it is up to them when they feel ready to return. This will hopefully make employees feel less fearful about returning. The panelists addressed that many employees may fear public transportation due to it being a common way for people to get to work. This is also something that employees can choose to do when they are ready.  

What are you going through personally? What has working remotely changed your mind about?  

The panelists agreed that they are ready to be back in the office but support their employees who may not be. They understand the fact that people have families at home, and it isn’t worth putting their health and safety at risk. Working remotely has changed everyone’s mind on how productive we can really be at home. 

The panelists agreed that they are ready to get back into the office to continue to support their companies’ culture. The person to person interaction isn’t the same while working remotely. If you were unable to join, you can view the full session here.