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Return-to-work strategies for the health care industry


Need those remote workers back in the office next year? Here’s what to consider.

Christopher Pappas is the founder and CEO of eLearning Industry: ©eLearning Industry

Christopher Pappas is the founder and CEO of eLearning Industry: ©eLearning Industry

You must have already heard that most employers are looking to have employees back in an office by 2024. However, more people than not would love to have the option of a flexible working space. So, what's the case in the health care industry?

Employers are definitely weighing the pros and cons of bringing employees back to work. Plenty of conversations around traditional offices vs. flexible ones are hot right now. Industry leaders don't want to lose their best talent to RTO mandates, but some believe that a coworking space is better for productivity and management.

What about company culture and allowing flexibility for peace of mind? Common sentiment might be far from what you have in mind. According to eLearning Industry's RTO survey, one in four employees would quit if asked to return to work. Also, most employees expect to spend more money on travel and commuting (78%), food expenses (70%), childcare (45%) and pet care (35%). No wonder things get heated when employers push RTO mandates.

Let's examine some strategies you can follow to avoid employee turnover and make the return-to-office transition easier for your health care employees.

Work-life balance opportunities

Work-life balance for health care practitioners is needed. So, if you want to reduce costs for patients and health care organizations, you must consider focusing on helping health care staff have a better quality of life.

Look, frontline health care workers experience extreme stress and compassion fatigue. Thus, there's a need to explore options to support the health care industry better. Flexible work arrangements and other initiatives can improve the work-life balance for health care talent. Flexibility is a win-win for health care workers and organizations, especially when you show team members that you value them. That's how you earn loyalty.

Flexibility can mean:

  • Lower attrition
  • Happy employees
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced employee absenteeism
  • Better patient outcomes
  • Great organization reputation
  • Improved workplace safety
  • Reduced capacity constraints

Your health care employees are looking for work-from-home positions, more casual work options, and shorter shifts like everyone else. They've caught on to the remote work trend, so you better listen. Flexibility can help you tackle burnout and stay sympathetic. Plus, it will help you engage with your staff.

Always ask for employee feedback to get their sentiment on any changes that are about to happen. Make sure to run an employee satisfaction survey and see how happy your workforce is. This will help you in improving your culture and your decision-making.

Flexible working arrangements In health care

Are you wondering how health care organizations can embrace workplace flexibility? Rostering shifts in health care can transform your workforce. When you offer a flexible work environment, you have opportunities to mitigate staffing challenges. From alternate shift lengths to job sharing, you can incorporate flexible schedules into making your health care workers feel happier. Even remote work is a solution, which, before Covid-19, was almost unheard of.

Workforce changes in the health care sector are something health care workers have needed for a long time. Technology has proved to be a silver lining during challenging times, and now, thankfully, health care staff have the chance to work remotely and flexibly.

Some of employees’ main concerns about working in the office include: having no flexibility in work days (56%), being around more germs and having a higher chance of becoming sick (49%), the office being too noisy to concentrate on work (46%), and having to make small talk around the office (38%).

Health care talent needs to be able to offer quality care and stay healthy by reducing the chances of getting sick. In the years to come, telehealth will rise even more, allowing the continuation of quality patient care.

In a post-pandemic world, you should still consider the importance of allowing health care staff to work from home and apply their nursing skills and experience in a more progressive way.

Perks and other benefits to ease the return to office transition

According to our recent RTO survey, if you want to get your workers in the office more often, you'll need to start offering some perks to ease the transition. Now that employees have leveraged the joys of remote working, most dread the extra costs of returning to the office. And fairly so.

For one, paying to cover commuting costs might be a good incentive. Companies covering commuting costs are considered more sensitive toward what employees want.

In our RTO report, three in four employees say flexible working hours would ease their feelings about returning to the office. Over a third (68%) of employees say they are excited about more professional development opportunities like mentorships, workshops, and training upon returning to the office. However, over half (54%) of field workers in health care reported feeling uneasy that training content made them feel ill-prepared to tackle their new role. Two in five (62%) workers are looking forward to wellness perks offered by their companies, such as gym memberships, therapy sessions, improved office spaces, and free lunch or coffee.

When it comes to hybrid workers, despite the costs, they still find value in the office. Also, work-related stress is rising, especially as RTO discussions make remote or hybrid employees feel uneasy about upcoming changes.

Remote health care job openings

Did you know that medical and health care jobs are in the top categories for partially remote or fully remote positions? Health care workers are looking for opportunities that allow remote work or flexible work in nursing, medical coding, psychiatry, and more. In fact, employment in health care occupations is expected to grow by 16% until 2030. Since demand for virtual medical care has never been greater, organizations in the health care industry must consider making remote jobs a top priority.

Here are some remote, work-from-home health care jobs people will likely show interest in in the upcoming years:

  • Telemedicine Therapist
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse Quality Assurance
  • Medical Director, Utilization Management and Quality Assurance
  • Senior Analyst, Health Coach Wellness
  • Director, Telemedicine Operations
  • Provider Success Associate
  • Provider Referral Coordinator
  • Claims Support Coordinator
  • Project Leader, Clinical Trials – Biotech
  • Clinical Research Associate II
  • Director, Regulatory Strategy
  • Senior Local Trial Manager – Early Development, Oncology
  • Medical Advisory Board
  • Provider Enrollment Specialist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • School Psychologist
  • Clinical Investigator
  • Medical Coder

Companies offering flexible medical and health jobs might get the best talent in the future.

Key takeaway

One thing we’ve learned after COVID hit is that the future of work is flexible and inclusive.

No matter if you agree or disagree, RTO mandates have diversity, equity, and includsion implications. And if you want to be able to talk about creating a more inclusive workplace, that’s what nontraditional offices do.

What most employees are asking is simple. They want leaders and business owners to evaluate them on the quality of their work. The number of hours employees spend glued to an office chair does not mean they are productive. Office time equals productivity is more like a myth than a fact.

Whatever the case may be, make sure to keep an eye out for company culture trends if you’re planning for an RTO transition.

Christopher Pappas is the founder and CEO of eLearning Industry.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health