As a manufacturer of one of the best-selling hand sanitizers in the world, you would expect GOJO Industries to take special care of the safe return of people to the workplace. The methodological approach of the company can serve as a guide for any company facing the same challenges.

The manufacturer of Purell in Akron, OH, is proud of its cooperation, so the forced isolation of the COVID block was a blow.

“Before the pandemic, we were almost entirely personal,” said Emily Esterley, vice president of labor ecosystem and employee experience. “We were great together without closed offices.”

The company wanted to maintain this culture, while respecting the new needs for social distancing and the wishes of employees who have turned to telecommuting.

But she did not want her decisions to seem arbitrary or to issue common policies, especially since many of her labs and staff could not do their work from home. So long before the restrictions were lifted, managers were thinking hard about what the future workplace would look like.

GOJO spent 18 months researching employees, conducting focus groups and prototyping its office of the future. Hundreds of people took part in the exercise, which aimed to identify roles that would meet expectations for future office presence.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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