As the world’s best-selling hand sanitizer manufacturer, you will expect GOJO Industries Take special care when returning people to work safely. The company’s systematic approach could serve as a guidebook for companies facing the same challenges.
The forced quarantine of COVID lockdown was a blow, as Purell’s OH maker Akron is proud of its collaboration.
“Before the pandemic, we were almost completely face-to-face culture,” said Emily Estherly, Vice President of Work Ecosystem and Employee Experience. “We were very supportive, with no closed offices.”
The company wanted to maintain its culture while respecting the new needs of social distance and the desires of employees to shed light on working from home.
However, many of the lab and manufacturing employees were unable to work from home, so they didn’t want to show their decisions arbitrarily or issue a comprehensive policy. Long before the restrictions were lifted, executives were seriously thinking about what the future workplace would look like.
GOJO spent 18 months researching employees, conducting focus groups, and prototyping future offices. Hundreds of people participated in this exercise. This exercise aimed to define a role that would meet expectations for future office presence.
Employee approval was important, which meant that language was important. For example, managers avoided the word “go back to work” and favored “work to do.”
There is no clear moment of return, and the role of the employee determines expectations.
Eventually, the organizers settled on four role types.
“Almost virtual” jobs require less than 10% office time and are optimized for on-the-go employees such as sales and service personnel. The roles of “Blend once a week” and “Blend once a month” include office work 2-3 times a week or 3-4 times a month. “Almost onsite” is for people who need to be physically present most of the time.
It turns out that the workforce was fairly evenly categorized into each role.
The process was made as transparent as possible, keeping in mind that people need to understand why they were put into the profession. “We decided to prototype and test, not just change things,” says Esterly. “Remove the preference from the equation, [decisions] A more equitable system was created based on the work done. People felt they were part of the process. “
There was some flexibility in the role.
“Each role has an average annual percentage of time expected to be in the field,” says Esterly. “A person may have been onsite for a while and then offsite for a while.”
Two categories of events have been identified that require physical presence. Site-specific tasks such as lab work and “milestone moments”. This is a full-time meeting, onboarding, training, and charter for a new team.
From the office to the neighborhood
The office layout has been readjusted to reflect the transformed workplace role as a collaboration space rather than a collection of offices.
The Akron headquarters has been rebuilt around the “neighborhood”, an open space for face-to-face meetings. In addition, the concept of “drop-in desk” was created to describe a personal space with feature-specific jewelery that people with virtual and mixed roles can take when they come to the office.
“This wasn’t much different than before because we were in Open Office in the first place,” says Esterly. “It was to get rid of some desk density and move to drop-in.”
GOJO was fortunate to be able to standardize on a single collaboration platform just before the pandemic. CIO Brian Carr said a consistent set of tools for file sharing and conference calls “wrapped up our way of working to help our employees do their best work, no matter where they are.” It states. So when the COVID arrived, “we were able to pull it off the shelf.”
Special attention is paid to the conference technique.
“We have implemented an integrated business collaboration platform that is part of the glue that has helped all of us work,” says Kerr. “We have provided an excellent conference phone that fits the size of the room, which allows people working virtually to hear and feel some of it.” In addition, Virtual White Board technology has been very well received and is now used even when all hands are present.
Organizations working on ways to get back to work in a comprehensive and logical way may be able to learn a few things from the examples.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3660770/how-one-company-used-lockdowns-to-envision-a-new-way-of-working.html How a company used the blockade to imagine a new way of working