Follow Heather Twitter Facebook
Email Heather Email
Education
Jun 1, 2021

Could It Be This Simple: ‘Work Appropriately’

Sponsored Content provided by Heather McWhorter - Director, UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The new PPP seems to be predicting, planning, and place. If the articles on return-to-office timelines and strategies are any indication – the snow globe’s been shaken and the snowflakes could land in any configuration.
 
Some plans are simple. At the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, we’re back in full force, in person. Our space is open and available for meetings and events. We’re scaling back on all-virtual events and testing the waters on in-person events, with virtual options. Our tenants and entrepreneurs are ramping up and our parking lot is filling up. On campus, we’ll be ready for an up-to-capacity, in-person fall semester. If you’re looking for a spot for your new business to land, or to hold meetings or events, we can help.

For other office-based businesses, planning a return to in-person, at-the-office work is complex. It’s difficult to snap back into the pre-pandemic work mode. According to surveys by The Conference Board, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit think tank that delivers trusted Insights for What's Ahead, lots of people would like to continue working remotely. In fact, that appears to be the preference for 61 percent of those currently working full-time from home. And, almost 30 percent of those folks say they’ll look for new opportunities if they’re required to return to the office. Yikes. What’s a business to do?

Some are thinking of ‘hoteling’ options, where office spaces are used on an as-needed basis and not assigned to an individual. Expect to see hybrid workplaces in which businesses have both an in-office staff as well as a permanent virtual staff. For many companies, this will be a new challenge as they work to maximize employee motivation, commitment and productivity across the board, regardless of where employees are physically located.

In a recent virtual event held by the Washington Post, Wharton School professor Adam Grant observed that virtual work has “benefits for productivity . . . [but] the big risks are collaboration and culture.” As we return to a new office environment, how will we maximize the positives and minimize the negatives?

Can we follow GM’s approach? As they struggled with the return-to-the-office question for 155,000 global employees, the message from CEO Mary Barra came down to two words “Work Appropriately”, leaving the policy flexible and evolving. It means individualized plans depending on the employee, the job to be done, and the makeup of the team. Maybe there will be more remote training. Maybe some employees will work permanently from home or run a hybrid schedule of in-office and remote work.

The decision to create such a program followed feedback from employees, many of whom have been working remotely for a year. GM conducted several surveys regarding how and where employees would prefer to work in the future, officials said. Such flexible and ambiguous policies are meant to empower GM’s leaders to take responsibility for their departments and employees.

“The learnings and successes of the last year led us to introduce how we will manage the future of work at GM, called ‘Work Appropriately.’ This means that where the work permits, employees have the flexibility to work where they can have the greatest impact on achieving our goals,” Barra said in a LinkedIn post.

In some ways, entrepreneurs have a jump on big companies. They’ve experienced being scrappy, firing up a virtual team, and working remotely. For startups, it’s both necessary and appropriate.    


Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie

Other Posts from Heather McWhorter

Uncw cie 22
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Bovio ernie ceo 240207 head 712412398

Investing in the Health of Our Communities, for Today and the Future

Ernie Bovio - New Hanover Regional Medical Center Novant Health
Untitleddesign7

Common Mistakes HOA Boards Should Avoid

Dave Orr - Community Association Management Services
Gretchen roberts 2021

Buying a Business? 6 Critical Finance and Tax Questions Before the Purchase

Gretchen Roberts - Red Bike Advisors

Trending News

Developers Pay $8M For Surf City Property

Staff Reports - Jul 9, 2024

Sheetz Opening In Hampstead

Staff Reports - Jul 8, 2024

Global Company Acquires Wilmington Entrepreneur's Software Firm

Cece Nunn - Jul 8, 2024

Wilmington Central Rotary Club Installs Board

Staff Reports - Jul 9, 2024

Record $13.9M Home Sale Signals Increasing Luxury Appeal

Cece Nunn - Jul 9, 2024

In The Current Issue

Doctor Building Trust At Jordan Clinic

At the corner of 15th and Greenfield streets, the first clinic opened its doors in April with Emilia Parrott as lead physician and Nicholas...


Apiture Measures Generational Tastes In Banking

A majority of the youngest American consumers – including 80% of Gen Z and 81% of millennials – report that digital banking is at the core o...


On BHI: Croquet, Anyone?

The Bald Head Island Croquet Club has produced its fair share of hard-hitting croquet crusaders, with past club members Bill and Billie Jean...

Book On Business

The 2024 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2024 Power Breakfast: The Next Season