Changing Landscape of the Work Environment

Changing Work Environment

Consider the person in the position when redefining a role at work

If you didn’t notice the post-pandemic shift in the workplace, you probably retired during it. For the rest of us, it’s anything but business as usual. There are worker shortages across many industries, and gainfully employed people may still be working from home. In fact, a good friend who recently arrived from Hong Kong said the worker shortage was also evident there and appears to be worldwide. 

How do we go about increasing workforce participation? Recognizing workers’ shifting expectations and desires, many companies are moving toward hybrid workplaces with a mix of remote and in-office roles. Some companies require certain days or weeks on site, while others have given up the work “place” altogether for a fully remote team.

Manufacturing is a unique environment where a high percentage of roles are required to be onsite, and of course, this extends to commercial printing and packaging media. However, astute employers in print and packaging are coming up with creative ways to accommodate staff needs and expectations to increase the flow of high-quality hires and employee retention.

Consider these important questions as your company helps create the new normal in print media and packaging:

What roles can be fully remote or offsite part-time?

Many talented, hard-working people prefer flexible schedules, part-time work, or a work-from-home arrangement. Don’t dig your heels in and keep everyone onsite full-time if it’s unnecessary – some employees need and appreciate more flexibility or unconventional work-life balance. Take a critical inventory of the roles in your plant to decide which ones have the potential to be offsite, part-time, or flexible.

Specific positions to address can include those that require mostly computer or phone work, such as customer service, front office, back office and accounting, database management, variable data printing programming, purchasing, prepress, and sales.

Look at each role and the person currently in that role to decide on the best structure. Not everyone thrives in a work-from-home or flexible arrangement—and not everyone wants that. Work with the human being in the role to make the most of the position, whether remote or onsite. 

Look at empty roles purely from a hiring perspective. If a position can be flexible, it will allow you to hire from a wider talent pool. At the same time, if a job needs to be structured a certain way for the benefit of the company, customers, and staff, then be absolutely clear about that when defining and advertising it.

Can onsite positions be flexible too?

Absolutely! We know that some printing and manufacturing positions simply have to be done at the plant. But you can bring the same evaluative process to these roles—press operators, bindery technicians, warehousing, and more. You have 24 hours a day, seven days a week to work with. Can these positions be 12-hour shifts, 3 days a week? Or 10-hour shifts on 4 days? Can they be part-time or on-call?

Look at the person in each role. Would a different kind of schedule benefit them—and by extension, the whole environment—by decreasing days off and increasing productivity? Slowly, your whole plant can move toward a more flexible environment that serves the people who work for you, along with your customers. For example, a working parent might benefit from a split or early shift, while a later shift might better serve a student’s lifestyle.

Keep in mind that many workers need reliable hours week in and week out, but the hours they have available might surprise you. As long as your plant is following labor laws and state regulations, a little creativity can decrease bottlenecks and increase productivity without compromising quality or customer care.

We want to try some of these ideas. Who can help us piece this together? 

Semper can help you! We know you want the best for your employees, customers, and leaders, and we can help you get there fast. Not only do we specialize in flexible, temporary, and direct hiring in the print media industry, we offer human resources services and consulting as well. 
Hiring takes considerable investment from leaders—we know it can be tricky! It’s the core of our business as the go-to staffing partner on behalf of the graphic communications, printing, and packaging industries. When you need a partner to create a team that works, seek out Semper. Register as a client today, or email us directly