The Great Return: creating an inclusive work environment

Office space with couches and a plant on the right, and people working next to each other at desks on the left
The US is entering the era of The Great Return.  Companies are responding to easing of restrictions and changes to social distancing mandates as they slowly transition from remote work to in-person. There’s a lot of discussion and debate about what flexible working looks like in 2022. What we do know is there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So corporations need to be creative in how they assist their employees during these changing times.

Flexible Working Practices

A new poll found that the majority of Americans working remotely would choose to keep doing so if given the option. Of Americans working remotely, 61% say they would choose to remain remote. 53% of U.S. companies consider themselves either “fully office” or “mostly office” workplaces, while 78% of knowledge workers want “location flexibility” and 72% are unhappy about their company’s current level of flexibility. The pandemic also forced a re-assessment of what “working hours” means. Many people continued to work whilst juggling remote schooling, child and/or family care, as well as dealing with their own mental and physical health issues. “Working hours” now accounts for flexible time zones and flexible working habits, and not just the amount of “connected” time you put in.

However, it has unquestionably benefited the vast majority of offices and their workers. This is because employees had time for themselves and their families, and all they had to do was invest in tv and internet packages to watch movies with their families and work remotely for their companies, saving a significant amount of money that they would have spent on travel otherwise. In addition, with stronger autonomy via location independence, workers produce results with 40% fewer quality defects.

Still, we know there’s tension between employer and employee expectations (just look at the recent memo from Tesla), so all of this begs the question: What can we do?

Flexible Office Environments

At RightHear we can ease the transition back to a physical workplace for businesses and employees who wish to return to in-person. We help make sure the business environment is truly accessible and inclusive for all. RightHear transforms public spaces into accessible environments for the blind and visually impaired. We provide app-based talking signage to help people interpret and understand their surroundings. These real-time audio descriptions are discreetly delivered to users via a free app (available on Android and iOS), and can be customized directly by businesses and venues to create a unique customer experience.  Ultimately, employees and employers need to create a mutually-beneficial environment in order to make the Great Return successful. As businesses, workers, and customers navigate this stage, we must remember what’s truly important. And that is to make everyone feel included and welcome. Contact us for a free accessibility consultation 💬
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