Navigating the New Normal: Embracing Flexible Work in Hampton Roads

Hampton Roads

In the evolving landscape shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work continues to be a significant aspect, especially for several prominent businesses in the Hampton Roads area. Over two and a half years since the pandemic’s onset, company leaders emphasize adaptability and, where feasible, offer both full-time and part-time remote work options to their employees.

For instance, TowneBank, a major employer in Hampton Roads with over 1,000 staff, has adopted a flexible approach tailored to different departments. Public-facing positions, like those in bank branches, have returned to the office full-time, while departments such as mortgage and finance follow a hybrid model with a few days of remote work each week. Although around 75% of the staff at TowneBank’s Suffolk headquarters are back in the office full-time, the bank aims to remain adaptable, considering the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic’s future. However, they express concerns about maintaining in-person collaboration and preserving the organization’s culture in the long run.

Recent data from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) indicates that local employees are resuming their commutes. Commuter traffic levels on highways and bridge-tunnels in Hampton Roads are approaching pre-COVID-19 numbers, suggesting a trend toward more in-person work.

Ferguson, a Newport News-based plumbing supplier, is focused on striking a balance between productivity and employee satisfaction with its remote work policy. Eligibility for remote work varies across the company, and Newport News headquarters employees have the option for full-time remote work or a hybrid schedule. The success of remote work at Ferguson is attributed to a well-crafted policy that prioritizes flexibility and acknowledges individual circumstances. The company, which has approximately 3,000 employees in Newport News, values its associates’ dedication, especially during challenging economic times.

At Clark Nexsen, a Virginia Beach architecture firm, flexibility is the key aspect of their remote work policy. While the preference is for employees to be in the office three days a week, the company acknowledges that different individuals may perform better in various settings or have unique circumstances. This approach not only considers the diverse needs of employees but also addresses factors like inflation and higher gas prices, which have influenced the decision to implement a hybrid work arrangement. This approach benefits the environment and aligns with the company’s values. Clark Nexsen employs 168 people in Virginia Beach.

While remote work is challenging for many employees, particularly those at Stihl’s Virginia Beach headquarters, the company acknowledges the importance of balancing business needs and employee well-being. Manufacturing roles often require an on-site presence, but Stihl does allow some employees to work remotely when feasible, and they recently introduced more flexibility. The company strives to find the right equilibrium, considering both operational requirements and the overall well-being of its more than 2,000 employees in Virginia Beach.

In conclusion, the embrace of remote work in the Hampton Roads region reflects a broader commitment to adaptability, recognizing the individual circumstances of employees and the changing dynamics of the post-pandemic work environment. As businesses continue to navigate these complexities, it’s evident that the lessons learned during the pandemic are shaping a more flexible and employee-focused future.