Viewing Our Workplace Through a New LensJune 8th, 2021
Fiscal year 2022 is nearly upon us and it will require us to look at our workplace through a different kind of lens.
On Sept. 13, some groups within Michigan Medicine will return to on-site work full time, while others will continue to work remotely, either part or full time. We are still in the process of making those final decisions and plans on a department by department basis.
As we begin to imagine ourselves on the other side of this pandemic, we know it won’t look and feel exactly like it does today, and it definitely won’t return to what our world was like before December 2019, when the first case of the coronavirus was reported.
The word of the day, and likely the year ahead of us, seems to be “hybrid.” When I look up that word, it is defined generically as “composed of mixed parts.” While this may sound simple, we are taking a very thoughtful, and at the same time, flexible, approach. This is why we established the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace initiative to help balance the needs of our organization with employee preferences.
We will hopefully cast off the worst of the pandemic in the coming months – the awkward distancing, the polarizing viewpoints, and rigid requirements for masking. Then, based on what we have learned, we will retain the best of it – the more efficient use of technology, gained productivity and reduced expenses from remote work, and a stronger sense of teamwork, knowing we get things done better together.
We have an opportunity to shape our future work environment, while building an even stronger, more united team.
In addition, it is important to pause and consider how to best sustain a healthier work life balance for everyone. We have all been through a lot and we have to remind ourselves that we will need time to heal and restore ourselves. In truth, many of us may continue to experience a recovery period for some time after we no longer have COVID-19 positive patients.
Michigan Medicine and U-M have many resources available for your personal wellness. I urge everyone to take advantage of these great services. All related websites and materials can be found on this Well-being webpage of the Path Forward website.
When I think back at all the extraordinary work we have achieved together throughout the pandemic, most of all I remember that it was your resilience and adaptability that got us through the toughest challenges. It is that kind of open-mindedness and willingness to adjust and adapt which will allow us to develop the best possible workplace solutions that will benefit all of Michigan Medicine.
So I invite all of you to look at our workplace through that new lens. Imagine how you can improve your work environment. How you can pause in your day for better work life balance. Now is the time to make a difference for yourself and your team.
June 16 addition to this blog:
First of all I want to say, since my blog first posted, the amount of responses I have received has been amazing. I appreciate your openness in sharing how you feel about our future work environment. I also enjoy reading how passionate you all are about your work, your teams and your workplace. Please be patient as it will take me some time to get though all the comments and share my own responses.
In addition, I wanted everyone to be aware that since my posting, the Michigan Medicine Flexible First Workforce and Workplace Committee sent out a communication which shared a new SharePoint site in which they define four categories for employee workplace environments : onsite, hybrid, mobile and remote. The site also lists a tool that allows employees to ask a question, make a suggestion, and offer feedback. Feel free to use these resources to inform yourselves on our Flexible First model for redefining our workplace of the future.
What would you like to change about your work environment? Share your suggestions or comments in the discussion box below.