The chief legal officer's role in transition to the workplace
Navigating the complexities and risks of workplace transition
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, companies reacted swiftly to unprecedented workplace and workforce disruptions. Many companies have made difficult decisions and navigated the delicate balance between the needs of their business and the needs of their workforce. As companies reopen their workplaces, the chief legal officer (CLO) has a key leadership role to play when the enterprise considers the decisions and risks related to workplace transition.
COVID-19 impact on legal departments
As employers continue to navigate work transition considerations, the CLO can play a key role in establishing the protocols that enable success. Explore three areas for CLOs to focus on during the transition back to the workplace.
The decision to transition back to the workplace
There are several sources that offer guidance for returning employees to the workplace. These include local government requirements and guidelines, as well as regional and international sources for best practices and recommendations from health care professionals which may be relevant to your geography and industry.
Work from home
For the portion of your workforce that will work entirely or partially from home, you may want to consider training related to cybersecurity and leading remote teams. For employees both within your legal department and the larger enterprise, carefully consider immigration, labor, and employment ramifications of remote work arrangements.
Transition back to the workplace
A return to the physical workplace may be necessary for some portion of your workforce. Note that employees may have strong feelings about returning to work, both for and against. If possible, allow employees to express these concerns and play an active role in planning their transition back to work, if possible. How employees are treated now will likely affect their long-term loyalty to the organization.
Chief legal officer's role during transition to workplace communications
Whether employees remain virtual or return to the workplace, communication will be critically important to enterprise success. Having clear communication protocols and a regular cadence of communication can help to reassure employees that work policies, whether virtual or in-person, have been drafted carefully. Be sure communication channels allow for workers to quickly escalate concerns to management and, whenever possible, address concerns promptly. In addition, it will also be important to rely on a strong network of peers and colleagues.
“We are facing an unprecedented time in our history and therefore with it, the role of the CLO becomes essential in establishing transition strategies as a response to COVID-19 crisis. Nevertheless, the challenges that lie ahead for the CLOs will request an effective communication protocol put in place, a strong consideration for the well-being and the safety of the employees and a trusted collaboration with their peers, which can help deliver well-thought-out solutions, adequate for long term actions,” said Simina Mut, Partner at Reff & Associates | Deloitte Legal.
For more insight into transition strategies and other insights to help you respond to the COVID-19 crisis, visit our COVID-19 Response webpage.