Remote Work: The New Normal

Remote Work: The New Normal Image
Remote Work: The New Normal November 17, 2021

Carolyn Lekan (BBA ‘99, MBA ’04) and Steve Pilotti (BBA ’90) discuss how the pandemic may forever change the way companies operate as employers continue to allow employees to do remote and hybrid work.

The pandemic has caused major changes in the workplace, and these changes may forever impact the way companies operate. Once a rarity, remote work has become the new normal, and even as we have progressed further through the pandemic, companies are still utilizing remote work formats. These formats have proven to be so successful that they may become a permanent staple in the workplace.

At a recent Cornerstone Speaker Series event with the Monte Ahuja College of Business, Carolyn Lekan (BBA ‘99, MBA ’04) Vice President of Corporate & Headquarters of Human Resources at Sherwin-Williams, and Steve Pilotti (BBA ’90), Senior Vice President of Industrial Sector Human Resources at Eaton, both CSU alumni, discussed how these changes have affected their respective companies, and how all companies can learn valuable lessons by reflecting on their operations to allow them to efficiently continue hybrid work styles in the future.

Starting off, Lekan discussed the progression of remote work at Sherwin-Williams, a company with over 61,000 global employees.

“Pre-COVID, working from home was rare, but it is now the new normal,” she said.

“We’ve proven during COVID that people have the capability to work from home. They have the tools and resources, they’re able to meet the deadlines and provide the services that we need, but we also need to have that connectivity and in order to maintain our culture.”

“In June, we announced that we were moving to a global flexible workplace policy, our official stance that we were moving to a hybrid model.”

In this model, employees are encouraged to go into the office 3 days a week and work remotely 2 days a week.

Pilotti described a similar situation at Eaton.

“Very similar to the culture of Sherwin-Williams, we feel we are better together”

Rather than staying purely remote, a hybrid schedule helps increase employee engagement and morale and assists with retention, efficiency, and effectiveness.

“Having a well-defined flexible work solution is key in promoting communication and culture among employees.”

Overall, both Lekan and Pilotti feel that a successful hybrid model can be carried into the future by following key lessons learned from how companies have been operating during the pandemic and utilizing available resources.

“Be flexible and adaptable and give employees notice of company changes. You need to do what works best for your organization and need the right tools to successfully manage a hybrid workforce,” Lekan said.

Similarly, Pilotti said that it is important to over communicate to ensure that everyone is prepared for any changes that may arise as companies continue to adapt. It is also important to make the most of online meeting tools and resources.

With continuous evaluation of progress and efficiency, communication, and a smart use of online resources, companies will be able to successfully continue hybrid work formats in the future to allow for greater flexibility and engagement among employees.