Readjustments Expected for Hybrid Work ModelsByCinthya Alaniz Salazar |Wed, 05/18/2022 - 12:28
Active listening efforts of C-suite executives and leadership was central to the continued functionality of business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This cyclical practice has become a standard that will influence the further development of work modalities, and ultimately improve companies’ ability to pivot as needed for when the next disruption arises.
“The COVID-19 pandemic remined us that the future is always uncertain,” said Felipe Sanchez, President and CEO, Assurant. The social and organizational challenges encountered over the past two years were the ultimate resiliency test to Assurant’s human resources initiatives and the strength of its company culture. While the company would go on to be awarded as a Great Place to Work for the tenth consecutive year, this did not materialize without significant effort from both its leadership and contributors. All the added initiatives and support that contributors received were rooted in constant communication such as weekly townhalls and one-on-one coffee breaks with Assurant’s CEO.
“These open lines of communication were central to providing clarity and maintaining company structure while safeguarding the emotional and mental wellbeing of our contributors,” said Sanchez. This allowed Assurant to foster its company culture even when confronted with the inherent challenges engendered by remote work, which is known to undermine social cohesion and trigger isolation. The approach also helped the company pinpoint health risks and build free preventative programs around physical and mental wellness to circumvent issues such as burnouts.
These efforts helped Assurant secure first place as a Great Place to Work in Mexico’s financial sector and close the first year of the global pandemic with a trust index rate of 94, the highest in its company history. Furthermore, it was recognized as one of the best companies to work for by the women the company employed. This was an important fist-time recognition in Mexico, where women have traditionally been disproportionally pushed out of the labor market. These initiatives allowed the company to grow steadily even as the global economy suffered numerous setbacks.
Since opening its offices earlier this year, the company adopted a flexible hybrid model regarding office attendance. Assurant will continue to refine the model based on the needs of its contributors, said Sanchez. Although presential work is only required twice a week following the model’s implementation three weeks ago, this has already been met with some resistance, which is a problem that other companies will likely encounter as they call workers back to the office. The conundrum for companies will be to decide if this is something that they are willing to compromise on. Regardless, flexibility will remain an overarching feature of future work models, so long as contributors can demonstrate equal or increased productivity compared to office work.
Throughout this process leadership will once again be tasked with demonstrating empathy and support as companies enter a new readjustment period.