Before the pandemic, did you have a home office? Legions of us didn’t, and many of us still don’t. But that doesn’t mean our employers haven’t tried to make us comfortable and keep us productive. Just how are they doing that and what are their thoughts on our return to the office? For answers to those questions we sent a quick survey to Chamber members. Our thanks to those who took time to respond.
The Business Voice (TBV): Certain companies are providing employees working from home with things like noise-canceling headphones, partitions and cameras. What, if anything, is your company doing to help employees working from home be as productive as possible?
Lisa Whetzel, Britepaths: We’ve provided headsets/earbuds, green screen backgrounds, speakers, printers, video cameras and chairs. We’ve also offered a membership to the WellnessCoach app to promote self-care, plus flexible schedules and more holidays.
Vinod Negi, UFX Travel: We have offered state of the art headphones such as Bose noise-canceling headphones and flexible hours.
Mark Ruszczyk, Kaiser Permanente: We’ve provided headphones, HD cameras, computer support (docking stations, monitors, dual monitors), and training (Zoom, Microsoft teams, etiquette training).
Frank Sturgeon, ADG10: As an architectural firm, we are considering offering art lessons, specifically in watercolors and clay sculpture.
Marisa Krasfig, IntelliDyne, LLC: Very early in the pandemic we gifted tablets to every employee so they could engage with each other over video during meetings and social events. We’ve also provided gift cards for food delivery services or groceries and offer a subsidy to employees who purchased items to work from home.
Kelly Nighland, Lexell Blue, LLC: Nothing extra. They already had the equipment to work from home effectively.
Marc Caposino, FuseLab Creative: Nothing that we didn't already offer.
Barbara Richardson, WMATA: We provide all equipment (laptops, tablets, cell phones, external monitors, docking stations, system access to various databases via VPN, etc.) necessary. We also provide furnishings, specialized equipment (for those who are hearing impaired or visually impaired, etc.) on an as- needed basis for those who have certain qualifying disabilities.
Dawn Bailey, Aronson LLC: We have focused less on physical items and more on supporting our team members with engagement, training and enhanced technology and communication tools. We have implemented Microsoft Teams, provided virtual training to team members, and provided managers engagement tools to keep team members participating and productive.
TBV: A number of companies are eager to get employees back into the office. To entice them, firms are offering things like free lunch, discounted parking, and learning "pods" for employees' children. If your company would like employees to return to the office, are you offering any perks to entice them and what are those perks?
Lisa Whetzel: For those who would prefer to work at the office, we've outfitted their desktops with all necessary video conferencing equipment. Staff have been very productive working from home, and the majority will continue to do so. When we do go back to the office, it will be a hybrid approach; a lot more time spent working from home.
Vinod Negi: We are not encouraging employees to return to the office until COVID-19 is taken care of.
Mark Ruszczyk: We are striving to maintain a virtual work environment where possible.
Frank Sturgeon: We are considering brainstorming sessions, libation hour on Friday, and cooking lessons from local chefs.
Marisa Krasfig: We have provided two “Above & Beyond” bonuses to essential employees who remained onsite throughout the pandemic. The bonuses were tiered based on total hours between March and November of 2020.
Kelly Nighland: We are not returning to the office anytime soon.
Marc Caposino: We are completely remote for the foreseeable future.
Dawn Bailey: We remain open-minded about post-COVID and envision a more flexible arrangement than in the past. We foresee enticing team members to come to the office for certain events and occasions.
Many Thanks To: