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Connecting Business Episode 11: The New Hybrid Workspace & How Businesses Are Adapting

Aug 30, 2021

A LinkedIn Editor and a Chief Human Resource Officer - What do they have in common? A passion for people.

Jordyn Dahl, Entrepreneurship Editor at LinkedIn and Mary Michaels, Chief Human Resources Officer at Windstream Communications discuss how the past 18 months of hybrid workspaces have impacted the way we will do business for years to come. Christina Munoz leads the discussion as Dahl and Michaels share the unprecedented challenges faced in 2020 while remaining committed to employee wellness and to changing the way leadership approaches internal communications.

Some Highlights:

Munoz: So let's talk about communication, especially when this was not planned. This was completely unexpected, and then not only communication, but keeping morale up, which is hard anyway. So how did you go about doing these things?

Michaels: Windstream has almost 11,000 employees, so communications and really focusing on employee morale has been a huge focus for us. And we did a couple of different things. First, we communicated very frequently. I think during, during turbulent times when things are tough, really being present and communicating with employees regularly is so important. We use multiple channels to reach employees, knowing that, you know, some prefer to see you at a live virtual event. So we had live town halls. We use our intranet. We try to keep a lot of information readily available to help people navigate this challenge.

[...]

Munoz: What kind of trends have you seen with regard to the impact on the employees?

Dahl: Everyone has been impacted by this across the board. Doesn't matter what industry you're in. It doesn't matter your work conditions. Everyone had some kind of a struggle over the course of this last year. The one trend that I am seeing amongst all workers, this is both frontline workers and more white collar workers is burnout, burnout and honestly, quite a bit of anger. People are feeling burned by their employers. They feel that they need a break and that the work-life balance needs to change more in their favor.

[...]

For most people who are working from home, they did not reclaim those commuting hours by finding new hobbies or spending more time with their pets. They worked more and they're saying, hey, we've been working our tails off for the last year and we need a break and more than that, there are many employers who were very eager for their workers to come back to the office.

And workers are saying, well, hold up there. You know, what do we want? And a recent LinkedIn Glint survey found that 55% of millennials do not want to go back to the office. And this is a really big generational divide. Baby boomers and gen X are more eager to get back, millennials and even generation Z are more comfortable being remote. And that is a new demand that they have. And so employers are going to have to navigate that going forward.

Part of this is leading to this idea that the press has deemed the great resignation, where you have a lot of people who took the last year to reevaluate what they're doing and think, you know, is this what I want to be doing? Is this a company I want to be at? Its this a position I want to be in? What kind of value do I bring and what do I want to do? And for some that is leading to a completely different outlook on life. They are switching industries. They are upscaling.

But you know, I got to throw a little bit of water on this idea that we have this great resignation, because the part that I think we are missing in all of this is we had a year and a half of people staying in their jobs. Normally you do have some turnover in the year, but there is so much trepidation and uncertainty that people who maybe normally would have switched careers or moved on to a different company, stayed put, they stayed with what they knew and what was safe. And now that things are opening up again, people are hiring more. Those workers who were already halfway out the door are now making that change.

Exclusive Bonus Content: 

Articles of Interest by Dahl: 

Connecting Business is exactly what Kinetic Business by Windstream does every day. If you'd like to get in touch, send us a note at connectingbusiness@windstream.com

You can also watch more episodes of Connecting Business.