Returning to the workplace: What can you expect?

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Now that most restrictions are lifted in New York State, people may be heading back to the office for the first time after working from home for more than a year.

CenterState CEO has been studying what Central New York employers have been doing and offering advice in their Return to Work Series.

One thing the organization’s president, Rob Simpson, said we know for sure is that workplaces, as we know them, are changing across the country. But there are specific trends they’re noticing in the region. Simpson said many employers are choosing to go with a hybrid model, having their employees come into the office only part of the time.

“I know many employers have found that their productivity has increased as employees have worked from home. Others have told me that they feel like their workforce has not been as productive and they feel like they need to have people back in the office to collaborate,” Simpson said.

The return-to-work plan all depends on the industry and whether people need to be in person to get the job done or not.

“I do think though that more people are going to return to the workplace than won’t,” Simpson said. “We’re already seeing those signs in downtown Syracuse if you went outside yesterday or today. I was downtown this morning at work and there are people everywhere frequenting establishments, going out to lunch, and ultimately those are good signs for our economy,” Simpson said.

At those establishments, companies are investing in new technology. Intivity in East Syracuse has been studying trends when it comes to workplace environments. The company provides full management services while outfitting offices with the latest technology and furniture. They have showroom locations in East Syracuse, Albany, and Rochester.

“One of the major changes that I believe I’ve seen for the good is basically brading the physical and the digital,” said Ann Miller-Michaels, Chief Sales Officer of Intivity. “Because of COVID, most small to medium-sized organizations needed to ramp up their technology.”

Plus, Miller-Michaels says companies are also working to make their workplace more welcoming. Many places are offering more options in their breakrooms, so people can get coffee at their leisure like they do at home. Or they’re buying one-person furniture or office pods, so there’s more privacy in the office.

“Everyone used to be an open plan office so that there’s coaching and mentoring and collaboration and because of COVID, we’re starting to see that the walls are coming back up,” Miller-Michaels said.

For those who are returning back to the office for the first time since last spring, clear communication from their employer is key.

“The first thing employees need and want to hear as they return to the workplace is they need to understand exactly what businesses and owners and managers have done to ensure their safety,” Simpson said.

CenterState CEO is a chamber of commerce, providing information and resources for local businesses who need them. The organization is hosting another Return to Work Series next week on May 26th. If your business is interested, reach out to them on their website. You can also email them at The lecture will include legal advice on mask mandates at work and guidance from larger businesses that have been working throughout the entire pandemic.

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