Roy Gilbert

Some employers establish ‘new normal’ by changing hybrid, remote-work policies as staff return to the office

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Throughout its eight years in business, Topeka-based Sprout Creative has operated with a mix of full-time employees and part-time contractors — so trying to tackle projects with some people working remotely wasn’t new to the firm when the pandemic hit last year.

“We were somewhat prepared for that,” said Caleb Asher, president and CEO of the marketing agency. “But certainly, being forced to operate that way only created a new dynamic. That’s for sure.”

As COVID-19 cases began popping up in Shawnee County in late March 2020, Asher, like many company executives, decided to have his employees work remotely from their homes.

“Safety and the health of our team was obviously one of our top concerns,” Asher said, “but at the same time, we had to keep the work going for our clients.”

Now, with the number of new coronavirus cases trending down and the number of vaccinations going up, executives like Asher are facing another challenge: when and how to bring their staffs back into the office.

And in some cases, employees’ work environments may be changing for good.

More: Evergy just filed its first integrated resource plan with the KCC. Here’s what you should know. The rise of remote work Angie Pastorek, who works for the University of Kansas and has researched such topics as organizational socialization and remote work, said working remotely was prevalent in some fields prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”It’s always been common in certain professions like sales,” Pastorek said, “and certainly, global organizations were well-practiced in working virtually.”But […]