Parking & Mobility magazine, November 2021

Page 6

/ ENTRANCE Strategizing Return to Work By Allen Corry, CAPP


Shawn Conrad, CAE EDITOR





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FTER MORE THAN A YEAR of suffering through a pandemic and

working virtually, the DFW International Airport Parking & Transportation Business Unit returned to the workplace. A major question we needed to answer was how do we maintain employee engagement during this transition from working virtually and remotely back to the physical workplace? One of the most dramatic impacts of the pandemic was the stress placed on all employees. Many had to quickly adapt to a new working situation while sharing their workspaces at home. Some found maintaining engagement with the workplace difficult. Some had issues separating home life from work life. Our personnel would be anxious when directed to relocate back to the workplace, and the best way to get people back to work in the most productive way is to create an environment where they feel safe and have a voice. People worried about returning to a germ-filled office, and they loved working virtually. After further consideration by our task force, we decided to continue a hybrid work option through the beginning of 2022, primarily due to the surge of COVID-19 (Delta) cases. This allowed employees whose work could be accomplished virtually to blend work locations between the office and remotely up to two days per week. This provided flexibility while creating a safer work environment, including opportunities for increased social distancing. Departments were given hybrid options: staggering weeks or days where certain employees work from home, and bringing some people back to the office while others moved to working from home permanently. Department heads were responsible for ensuring appropriate coverage at all times. It was important that we continue to engage in-person with one another to build our culture of collaboration, inclusion, and innovation.


We are an airport operation—65 percent of our employees work on-site. Finding the right balance and equity for all employees is critically important. We kept constant communication with employees before formulating the plan to return to the workplace and informed them of details more than a month before reopening; we also guaranteed measures to provide a safe environment, such as modified workspaces, hand washing, face coverings, and social distancing. A survey found some employee concerns: 1. A potential increase in COVID-19 cases. 2. Whether all employees could be accommodated safely if present at the same time. 3. Whether shared workspaces could become separated workstations. Our leadership needed to be transparent about plans and expectations. We conveyed new guidelines and safety protocols to ensure a safe and smooth transition back to the workplace. It was critical to prepare the employees for re-entry. Wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. ◆ ALLEN CORRY, CAPP, is assistant vice president, Parking/ Transportation Business Unit, DFW International Airport, and a member of IPMI’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at acorry@