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Return to work or else... How do you respond? OK, now, is remote work for everyone in IT the right approach in Healthcare?


 Today in health, it returned to work or else it's a sad strategy actually worked. We'll take a look at a story and we'll see how it is working. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system in greater this week. Health set of channels and events dedicated to transform health care.

One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders. Notable service now, enterprise health. Parlance certified health and Panda health. Check them out at this week. All right. Hey, this story and everything that we cover on this show, you can find on our website this week,

Check it out today. Let me know what you think. Let's see. Oh, this week, or this month is lemonade days. This is the month that Alex did her first lemonade stand. On our way to raising a million dollars while she was alive and starting a foundation Alex's lemonade stand foundation, which has raised 250 million. To support children with pediatric cancer and their families. We ask you to join us.

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A form of mentoring. We'd love to have you do that this year. They can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. All right, let's take a look. This one always cracks me up. We have this conversation from time to time in the 2 29 projects meetings. I will say less and less, to be honest with you, this is not a common discussion anymore.

It's like this. This has been fought and won or lost, depending on which side of the equation you want to be on. Here's the article is ARS Technica Del said returned to office or else nearly half of workers chose or else workers. Stayed remote. Even when they told they could no longer be promoted. Interesting.

So the either, or it wasn't like, Hey, you have to come back to work or you're fired. Which is what sort of the title indicates, but it's more, Hey, you have to come back to work or you can't be promoted. Interesting approach. So let me give you a couple of excerpts of your big tech companies are still trying to rally workers back into the physical offices. And many workers are still not having it based on recent report.

Computer maker, Dell has stumbled even more than most. All right. So why are big tech companies trying to bring workers back into the physical offices? There's this belief that a workers are better when they are in connection with each other when they are in community with each other, things happen over lunch, things happen at the water cooler things happen in meetings.

There's more visual brainstorming and those kinds of things. We could argue that until the cows come home, it's not going to matter. What we think the question is, what does the data support. On that. And clearly they have looked at the data and said we were better when people were in the office.

So anyway, Dell announced a new return to office initiative. Earlier this year in the new plan, workers had to classify themselves as remote or hybrid. Those who classified themselves as hybrid or subject to tracking systems that ensure. They're in physical office, 39 days a quarter. Which works out to close to three days per week. Alternatively by classifying themselves as remote workers agree, they can no longer be promoted or hired into new roles within the company. Ooh. That's the that's the stick.

So there's the carrot there. Stick. I didn't see any carrot here. Yeah. Hey, come back in the office. We'll give you a bonus. I didn't see any of that. One person said they spoken to colleagues who had chosen to go hybrid. And those colleagues reported doing work in mostly empty offices, punctuated with video calls, with people that were in other, mostly empty offices, many interviewed, admitted.

They were looking for work at other companies that aren't trying to corral employees back into the office. Tell us not the only company struggling with this. For example, we've reported several times on Apple's internal struggles. And employee revolts over remote work, executive management at the company's trying to restore in-person work culture claim that working together in a physical space allows for greater collaboration and innovation. And then final paragraph research on this topic has offered mixed insights. But there does seem to be some consensus that remote work is accompanied by very modest drops in productivity. For example, a working study at a Stanford Institute for economic policy research. Suggested around 10% drop. And productivity, even as it's noted that the cost saving benefit of remote work. Could make up for some of that. Okay. So that's the gist of the story.

I want to talk about this in the context of healthcare. And it's interesting. It's interesting. Because I don't think this is as cut and dry as, oh my gosh. If we say, come back to work, everyone's going to leave us and they're going to go work for another company. That may be true. You may lose a lot of workers, but you are a very sought after job within your markets.

Healthcare is considered a very strong sector. Working in healthcare is considered a a very stable job. I know some of you are laughing right now, but it's considered a very stable job to get a job at a healthcare company. People are con. Continually be sick. They're going to continually go to health systems. And and therefore it's considered a very good job to have in most markets.

So if you did a remote work or or a back in the office only kind of policy. Would you struggle to find workers? You may struggle to find the choice workers that you want. But I'm not sure that you would. Over time. I think that would level itself out. With that being said, we were a in the office back in the day, back in 2012 through whatever 20 16, 20 11 through 2016. We were in the office with that being said, we had a lot of remote workers. We had workers in specific skillsets that we couldn't hire. Locally that we hired remotely.

And so we had workers in, I don't know, about 10 states. Across the country, some on the Eastern time zone, working in the Western time zone, I think when that is the exception, rather than the rule, it's a little different Then when everybody is remote and you have to deal with different time zones and those kinds of things, I've heard people implement different practices.

One I heard was you had to be within a couple mile radius, a dot couple of mile within a driving distance radius of the health system in case of an event. That they required you to come in. Uh, I've heard different policies in terms of a hybrid number of days in the office versus number of days remote. I've heard that some of those policies don't apply to. Executives, like when you get to a certain level, you're expected to be in the office. I think one of the biggest challenges we face. Is that healthcare is predominantly a on-site business. Meaning, if I'm a health system. And we have 30,000 employees better than two thirds.

If not three quarters of those are going to be onsite. Because delivering care is a physical thing. Seeing patients as a physical thing, at least today it is. And what's that being said, that means a portion of your it staff has to be physically present. To deliver that care and to interact with those with the stakeholders. Of the various technologies. So as I think about that, I would almost require a lot of my analysts, the project managers and others to at least be hybrid. They have to be interacting.

They have to be rounding. They have to see people. Face-to-face and having conversations. And if they're not willing to do that, and I realize I'm going out on a limb here, some of you are just going to turn off the podcast right now and be upset. But there are, there's a lot of roles within it. That I would require to come into the office.

I would require them to be there because the rest of the organization is physical. If that was not the case, like big tech. I, if it's not physical, it's not physical. If they don't need to be there, they don't need to be there. And then we can just work on a culture that works remotely. I think people think we're other, we're it.

Therefore we're not in healthcare and it can operate different than healthcare, but we operate within the context of healthcare. Therefore. We should be present. And when you're not present, that's when you create this riff between it. And the organization and that's the riff I've seen when that rift gets bigger and bigger.

And when it does people lose their jobs. People lose their jobs because there's there's a disconnect. That happens. And so I think it's key to have obviously your higher level executives within it present. I think some analysts key project managers present. I don't think everybody needs to be present.

To be honest with you. If people are working on backend systems, And that kind of stuff. And they're there. They don't need a lot of interaction or they can do that interaction from time to time. Via zoom or teams or whatever. Mechanism you're using I would play that by year, but I think that there are key personnel that has to be on site to, to ensure that we don't create a rift. Riff between rift not riff rift between the it organization. And the greater healthcare organization. They have to see you.

You have to be present. There, there's sort of an empathy factor. We understand that we need to be here with you kind of thing. Not everything can be done remote. I'm pretty sure that some of you may disagree with me. In fact, I'm pretty sure that a lot of you might disagree with me. On this cause I just took, I dunno, maybe 10 to 15% more of your staff and brought them back into the office. But that's the reason I do this show is so that you can have these conversations amongst yourself.

Cause some thought caused you to think. And then come back to me and say, bill, you're wrong. This is why you're wrong. By the way, I just don't buy the argument that you can't get good people who want to come into work. With that being said, I think there's a sustainability argument for not bringing people into work. Having. Especially having worked in Southern California and seeing New York city and other places, when people have to sit in a car for an hour in both directions or mass transportation or whatever they have to do to get to work.

There's a sustainability argument for not having people make those. Those drives into work. I don't know. I could make the case in either direction. I'm really sensitive to that rift. Between the larger health care organization and the it organization, that is a very bad place to be.

You want to make sure that you're constantly in connection with the stakeholders. And hearing them and walking with them and walking in their shoes. So that's why I think it's important. Agree or this, or don't disagree with me. Agree with me, disagree with me. I think the most important thing is half the conversation. All right.

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