As the world moves to remote, many have grown concerned about how differently that will affect different groups of people. Today’s guest wonders if, with a little hard work, it might be possible for the world of remote work to actually level the playing field, overturning previously existing inequities.
Meet Teresa Martinez, Director of Human Resources at Altia.
How did you get into HR?
I worked after high school in two very unrelated fields and then made a late decision to return to school for my degree in psychology, assuming an eventual career as a child and adolescent counselor. When I graduated, I knew I was behind in my computer skills. I registered with a temp agency that offered computer training along with its other placement services and things like that.
After going through the interview and intake process with the agency, I went back home and received a phone call asking me to come back to the office. The owner of the agency happened to be in town at that particular office that day and wanted to meet me. So I met with him, and he actually ended up hiring me directly to work for the agency. There, I did account management and recruiting and assisted the employees who came in looking for work. It just kind of stuck. And over 20 years later, here I am still doing that, so I was blessed to find it.
Some organizations are going through entire redesigns of their offices to accommodate a return to the physical workplace. It seems to me that if you have to go through all the trouble to twist your office into something people could come back to, you really better have a good reason for them to come back in. Right?
That’s a lot of costs and a lot of anxiety and a lot of concern. It’s concerning for me just to go into a store for a few minutes with a mask on. If I were sitting in an office, I don’t really care how it’s designed, no matter if I’m 20 feet away from everybody; we’re breathing the same air. I don’t want to wear a mask all day either. Some people don’t have a choice, but a lot of places do have a choice. Being in a place where I know other people might get sick doesn’t seem like a thing I would ever really be comfortable with. I get concerned at how many companies are really trying to bring people back to the office on this sort of misguided adventure to the past.
It is. And that’s actually what we found. We surveyed our folks, and I’ve been reaching out and interacting with them. There were a lot of concerns shared about how we know if it’s really safe. You can do everything, but again, we have an office space in another building. What are they doing? The greater building, the ventilation—those types of things are all concerns.
Then we have to ask what we are going to do internally. It was really split down the middle; after COVID and after we have the vaccines and everything, half want to go back to work, and half don’t. And even of that split, many people are really hoping for a hybrid situation going forward. They miss the interaction; of course, you miss the people you work with, and there are certainly things to be gained by those casual interactions throughout the day, but there are also concerns. There are concerns for. . .
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Source: HR Daily Advisor