For the companies that have kept employees home since March 2020, the start of the new year will bring some big changes with the return to work.

Organizational psychologist Dr. Jack Wiley said the pressure is on to meet the new needs of employees who lived through a pandemic..

What You Need To Know

  • Employees want greater flexibility in the workplace
  • Managers, companies face pressure to adapt

  • Sixty-five percent of employees considering leaving workplace

  • Staying connected to teammates is more important than ever

Wiley told "Inside the Issues" host Alex Cohen returning to work comes as employees rethink work and its importance in their lives. He added that 65% of employees are thinking of leaving their current organization.

“It’s extra pressure on the boss,” Wiley said. “They are going to have to adopt different techniques for attracting and retaining employees.”

Some employees might have moved or have new childcare needs, and this may lead to requests to permanently work from home or a hybrid schedule.

“It puts managers and organizations in a situation of unprecedented challenge,” Wiley told Cohen.

Flexibility is key: people will leave if organizations can’t offer flexibility.

“They’re going to lose out on talent, they are going to have major expenses in recruiting and training people up to that same level of performance,” he said.

As upper management faces pressure to adapt to greater autonomy, employees also need to adapt to their new workflow.

“People are going to differ in terms of their sense of discipline,” Wiley said. “What should be at the forefront of their minds is performance.”

Flexibility does not mean less work. 

Employers should keep expectations high no matter where people on their team are located.

And when it comes to keeping relationships strong between a team that may be spread out between buildings, cities and even states, keeping connected is more important than ever.

“That’s one of the most important needs we have, to be related to our co-workers,” Wiley said.

Wiley suggests teams make an effort to hang out outside of work and if they can’t, to “do special kinds of zoom meetings not about work related topics.”

Let Inside the Issues know your thoughts and watch at 8 and 11 p.m. Monday through Friday on Spectrum News 1.