With pandemic restrictions being lifted around the country, people are returning to a work environment that looks familiar but feels much different. Recently, Dr. Dana Sumpter, a Professor of Organization Theory and Management at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, participated in a nationwide satellite media tour to discuss tips for employees, especially working moms, returning to the office and what organizations can do to help facilitate the process.
A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/vdw5gcwfEuI
Employees are facing many challenges as they return to the office, especially working parents and caregivers. The first is how returning to the office can impact scheduling. Going back to the office means creating new routines, which can impact an entire household. There is also the challenge of uncertainty. The continued uncertainty around childcare, schooling, health protocols, and more, can completely disrupt a work routine and make it difficult to integrate back into the office.
One suggestion from Dr. Sumpter? Be very clear about your availability. During the pandemic, many employees became accustomed to being “constantly available,” which is unsustainable in an office environment. It’s important to be proactive in regard to what you want your work hours to be and be clear with co-workers about when you need to take some time for yourself.
Companies and organizations can also take the lead in helping their employees successfully return to the office. The first thing they can do, is keep their finger on the pulse of how employee re-entry is going, which means listening and paying attention to how their employees are feeling. It’s also important to consider employees’ holistic needs. Employers can demonstrate they care about employees holistically by upping their support policies and structure opportunities for people to connect.
One potential way to jumpstart or revitalize your work life? Dr. Sumpter suggests earning a higher degree, such as an MBA or aMasters in Leadership, can be an experience and credential to help employees reach their career goals.
For more information, visit bschool.pepperdine.edu
About Dr. Dana Sumpter:
Dana Sumpter is an Associate Professor of Organization Theory and Management at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. Her research employs a cross-cultural lens in understanding social behavior at work, studying topics including energy, mindfulness, power, work/family systems, people management, and work relationships. She has published in numerous academic journals, and her recent award-winning international management case focused on a woman’s human resource management expatriate role in Oman. In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Professor Sumpter enjoys consulting, giving presentations and talks, and running professional workshops. She gave a popular TEDx talk in 2018 titled "Don't Underestimate Working Mothers." Previously, she was a Vice President of Human Resources at Citigroup, based in New York and Singapore. Across 10 Asia-Pacific nations, Dr. Sumpter has led live executive training and coached executives on people management skills. She is an avid traveler, who has spent time in more than 30 countries, and counting!