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Cerner announces hybrid model for workers this fall

Cerner announced on Thursday that it would be transitioning to a hybrid in-person/remote work environment in its U.S. offices this fall.  

The electronic health record vendor will designate a small percentage of its workforce as full-time on-site, and a small percentage as full-time virtual.  

The majority of workers, however, will be classified as “dynamic,” the company says, with the flexibility to work from home or on-site as determined by their preferences and necessary tasks. They will have access to Cerner facilities for in-person work, including group collaboration or team building.  

“While there is no single recipe for success, we envision many teams will choose to work on-site a few days a week, or a few weeks a month, with the remaining time spent at home or in a remote location,” wrote Tracy Platt, chief human resources officer for Cerner.  

WHY IT MATTERS

In July 2020, research and advisory company Gartner found that 82% of company leaders planned to allow employees to work remotely some of the time – and Cerner will now join those ranks.

At Cerner, nearly 70% of employees said they desired a mix of in-office and work-from-home flexibility. Still, the company says many associates reported struggling to “switch off” at the end of a workday at home.  

And although research finds that many workers are more productive from home, they can also struggle with social connections in the longer term.

As Platt notes, a hybrid model is uncharted territory for many businesses, meaning leaders and managers will have to be observant and dynamic.

“We recognize that Cerner leaders will need to lead differently in this new environment,” she wrote.   

“As we transition into our hybrid work environment, we’re providing additional training and development opportunities to help our leaders and our teams collectively succeed in managing and engaging within a hybrid distributed workforce model,” she continued.

Platt also points out that Cerner leadership expects this model to evolve over time in response to measures of success among employees and clients.   

“Cerner’s future [at work] is being intentionally designed to further attract, engage and retain a competitive global workforce capable of executing on the company’s mission and helping us transform the future of healthcare,” she said.  

THE LARGER TREND  

Cerner’s approach stands in contrast to that of its major competitor, Epic, which announced this week that it would begin requiring workers to return to campus in July

By September and October, employees will be nearly fully transitioned to the office – with the option to work from home one day every two weeks.  

“We design integrated software that cares for patients, and we find that we can do that best when we’re all together, working closely together in-person,” said Epic decision lead Kristen Dresen.

Cerner, for its part, acknowledged that some of its work does require in-person activity. But it also pointed to its success during the pandemic with unprecedented virtual go-lives and COVID-19 predictive models.  

ON THE RECORD  

“We are proud to be implementing innovative, flexible, forward-thinking workforce strategies that balance the needs of our associates, our business, and our clients,” said Cerner’s Platt. “We believe flexibility and inclusion foster innovation, and innovation drives change. Because … healthcare is too important to stay the same.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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