CFO planning office re-entry

How CFOs Impact the Post-Pandemic Workforce

According to a recent LaSalle Network survey to CEOs, COOs, and heads of HR and finance, majority of companies plan to bring employees back to the office by fall 2021. While considering how and when to bring employees back on-site, potential office reorganization, employee care and more, leaders are making major decisions that can make a lasting impact on their organization 

Especially for businesses whose offices have been closed or remained at a limited capacity throughout the last 14+ months, bringing employees back into the office may prove even more challenging and complex to navigate than the sudden shift to remote work was last year. Working alongside Human Resources and other business leaders, CFOs play a critical role in planning a successful and safe return. They must intentionally rebuild and structure an office that not only offers a productive workspace but keeps employees safe and engaged while adapting to how business and how employees themselves may have changed over the last year.  

Below, we share 4 essential considerations for CFOs to help their businesses evolve and adapt to today’s environment and needs.  


Workspace Reconfiguration  

Before considering if and how to invest in the physical workplace, business leaders must decide how they will structure their workforce for the foreseeable future. According to a recent LaSalle Network survey, 77% of business leaders predict they will have a hybrid of remote and on-site workers at this time next year.  

major consideration for CFOs deciding to implement a hybrid structure is the cost of real estate versus the benefit of in-person collaboration. The logistics of the office – such as if the current space can physically support the number of employees that will be on-site at any given time – will help determine how much CFOs must invest in their office reconfiguration. Some companies may have grown over the last year and be needing more space, while others may have decreased in headcount or decided to keep all or some employees remote. 

For companies finding themselves with far more office space than needed, some may consider subleasing or if there are other options to cut costs and consolidate office space. For companies who have grown, offices must not only have desk space and equipment for employees coming into work but should also be conductive to collaboration and creativity. CFOs should consider if the office will need more desks or more spacious collaborative areas. 

A major argument for employees returning to the office part or fulltime is for increased creativity and better problem solving, so CFOs should consider if their office space is supportive of a collaborative environment with meeting spaces and appropriate technology and materials. While meeting rooms and other shared spaces may not be able to be used right now with health and safety protocols, consider that these areas will likely be essential to the office in the near future, and if possible, resist converting these spaces permanently for other uses. 

While budgeting for office reconfigurations and additions, CFOs should not forget the need for deep cleaning and/or fumigating. While the health and safety of employees is a major priority, budgeting for cleaning and other safety measures will be an important aspect of the office budget.  


Remote and On-site Technology Setups 

CFOs and their teams should take detailed inventory of what technology is currently at the office, what company technology was taken home by employees and can be returned to the office, and how to provide proper set ups both for on-site and remote work, if supporting a hybrid workforce.  

To help minimize costs, consider if it would be more cost effective to have employees bring back materials taken from the office and instead provide them with a technology stipend for their own home setup, or provide them less expensive technology to take home.  

CFOs should consider how best to integrate collaborative technologies in the office. This could include upgrading meeting rooms with scheduling systems and video conferencing technologies to support hybrid workforce, if applicableConsider if investing in a softphone system, rather than physical office phones, could help save on technology costs down the line as well.  

Prior to employees returning to the office, CFOs should work with their Information Technology team to accomplish any network or technology updates needed as well 


Incentivizing Employees 

CFOs, in partnership with HR, should analyze how best to incentivize employees to keep them engaged and prevent loss of human capitalEmployee turnover has expected to spike in the coming months and CFOs should plan how to keep employees incentivized. This could include a shift in compensation and bonus structures for all or some employees.  

Beyond employee pay, CFOs should also consider which perks and benefits are the most beneficial and able to be maximized long-term by remote, hybrid and on-site workers. They should consider how certain in-office perks, gym memberships, and budgets for events or travel may change, and if budgets can be adjusted to invest more in benefits employees value mostA few of the most desired categories for perks/benefits include physical and mental health, financial wellness and work flexibility.  


Risk Management 

CFOs today face the broadest range of risks in decades. A few such risks include the continuing surge of cybersecurity attackand potential legal ramifications for COVID-19 safety concerns. 

While working to support an organization’s recovery and growth, many companies are investing in data and analytics and cybersecurity talent to help increase accessibility to essential data and safeguard against attacks. CFOs should work with HR to consider if and how they should add headcount to these areasTo read more on the most in-demand cybersecurity professionals companies are adding to their team, click here. 

CFOs, in partnership with HR, should create a plan for how the company can best protect their employees from a COVID-19 break out. Create a contingency plan for if an employee tests positive, including legal assumptions if disease transmission is traced back to the office. If encouraging or mandating vaccinations for employees, there are further legal considerations CFOs should consider before communicating their plans with employees. For more informationclick here.  


Wondering how to best approach office re-entry? Is your process already underway but in need of course correction? Join us for our Office Re-Entry Event Tuesday, May 25th from 11 am – 12pm CST where LaSalle Network CEO, Tom Gimbel, and a panel of Human Resources leaders will speak to their re-entry plan including successes, challenges and opportunities they have faced thus far. Register for the virtual event here.

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