July 2021: Post-Pandemic Challenges in the New Workplace

Post-Pandemic Challenges in the New Workplace

In 2020, many business leaders successfully transitioned their teams to remote work, pivoting to meet the demands of the pandemic. Managing a virtual workforce presented many challenges in the beginning. Now, fast forward to 2021. The pandemic is starting to recede, and leaders are faced with the next challenge — moving to a post-pandemic work environment. With company culture and continued success being key decision-making factors, it is equally important for leaders to listen to their teams to ensure that engagement, productivity, and retention remain high. With deep considerations to be made when developing the return-to-work model, our team of HR experts shares their top pieces of advice to help you support your business.

1. Be mindful and actively listen.

The best return to work model is not a “one size fits all” solution. The key to devising the plan is being  thoughtful and deliberate during the transition. Develop a work plan together with your employees so they feel valued (for example, through a survey). Prepare for the fact that some employees will still want to work remotely. A recent Robert Half[1] survey found that 1 in 3 professionals currently working from home would look for a new job if required to return to the office full time. This statistic should be taken into consideration when devising your plan.

2. Focus on employee job satisfaction.

Employee retention is an essential element to consider. Despite high unemployment, the labor market is tight, so it is very challenging for businesses to find talent. Now is the perfect time to evaluate effective employee retention strategies as you firm up your return-to-work plans. Here are ways you can increase job satisfaction and retention as you develop your return-to-work business model:

  • Consider an in-depth compensation review. It is essential to pay employees competitively, which means reviewing and adjusting salaries regularly. Even if an increase in pay or benefits is not achievable, there are other ways to sweeten the pot, like a bonus or additional PTO.
  • Create a coaching and mentorship program. Pair your less experienced valued employees with a mentor who can offer guidance and be a sounding board. This creates a sense of camaraderie, commitment, and open lines of communication.
  • Establish good workplace communication. Advocate and foster constructive and positive communication across the entire team. Think of new ways to connect. For example, encourage managers to provide more ongoing feedback to their employees rather than the one time during their annual performance review. This strategy will keep employees engaged, continuously learning, and improving.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements. As previously mentioned, devise a transition schedule that takes into consideration your employees’ wishes. This will support retention by showing your employees that you are considering their preferences. If remote work is not a long-term option, consider a compressed workweek or a flexible arrangement that places the employee’s well-being at the center.

3. Develop a career path for your valued employees.

Take a step back, look within your business, and evaluate your team. Consider what qualities matter most to foster growth and success for your business. Valued employees may be motivators, assertive, accountable, and unbiased. The question to ask is which attributes matter the most for your business’s success. Is it teamwork, productivity, and/or reliability? Nurture and foster the identified high potential employees by learning what their career goals are and developing a long-term plan to get them there. These individuals are the perfect candidates to be part of the mentorship program previously mentioned. Show them that their opinion matters, and ask them for their thoughts. Give them a sense of purpose. The same process may be done for succession planning.


The post-pandemic work environment will be different. Rethinking the workplace opens up new opportunities to reimagine how we work. Your employees will value the thought and attention you put into devising your plan which will help keep your workforce motivated and engaged. Warren Whitney’s HR team works with business leaders to strategically evaluate your best path forward. Our work includes strategy consulting, in-depth compensation and benefits analysis, organizational structure and planning, as well as talent management. If you have any questions or seek further clarification, please call us at 804.282.9566 or email Stephanie Ford at sford@warrenwhitney.com. We do not charge for the initial call. We want to learn more about your business needs.


[1] Robert Half, Returning to the Office, April 4, 2021