It\u2019s rare that the Top Workplaces companies, and the economy they reflect, line up across the board with as clear a mandate as we\u2019re seeing in late 2021. No, not a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, though many are dealing with that. I\u2019m talking about the collective struggle to get back to normal, whatever that looks like, both physically and in the way these winning companies run themselves. Two things are clear, as my colleagues and I have talked with managers and employees at the winning companies: It\u2019s happening slowly. And normal in the workplace won\u2019t look like it did in 2019. At specialty insurer HAI Group, (No. 3 in the midsize category), for example, CEO Ed Malaspina never missed a workday at the office, where he felt obligated to show up, sometimes even when everyone else worked remotely. Now HAI is two-thirds back in-house, and what an in-house it is \u2014 with a pavilion and basketball court out back, yoga (still online) and all sorts of programs. Malaspina would just as soon have everyone back, period. \u201cBut I do think there\u2019s a significant number of employees who do find better life balance through working remotely and I respect that,\u201d he said. For the fourth year running and the fifth time in the Hearst Connecticut Media Top Workplaces contest, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties wins the No. 1 spot among large employers. This year, it comes amid a pandemic-fueled housing boom that brings its own form of stress, leading CEO Candace Adams to suggest the company will remain a lot more online, with smaller offices. Splash Car Wash, founded four decades ago by Mark Curtis, who\u2019s still the CEO, has finished in the top three in its size category four times previously, but never at No. 1 \u2014 until this year. Hats off to Splash, which closed in the spring of 2020 even though the governor declared car services essential. Curtis told me business has been solid at Splash\u2019s 16 Connecticut locations, with a strong economy, although \u201ca small percentage of people...are not engaging in normal activity even still, or because of the delta variant uptick.\u201d His own employees are back to normal workflows, pretty much, he said, echoing many company managers who are having to reset their systems. Bridgewater Associates, the giant hedge fund, returns to the winners list (No. 2 large) as it works to maintain its famously critical culture in a new, hybrid format. Remote work is not unusual in the software industry, and Criterion, of Norwalk, is showing how it works best with its second straight No. 1 finish in the small employers category, in its first two years in the contest. Among the three Top Leader award winners \u2014 the top executives \u2014 Maria Coutant Skinner, executive director at McCall Center for Behavioral Health and Help Inc., continues a trend of recent years. We\u2019ve seen at least one head of a behavioral health provider win the top leadership honors for several years running. All three Top Leader honorees \u2014 Coutant Skinner (midsize employer), Sonja LaBarbera at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare (large employer) and Scott Crane at accounting and consulting firm Reynolds + Rowella (small employer), have had to manage workplace stress among employees as much or more in the last 18 months as ever before. If your company is here on the list, congratulations. Getting back to normal requires Top Workplaces skills and culture. If your employer isn\u2019t on the list and should be, get a head start on 2022 by clicking on www.topworkplaces.com\/nominate\/hearstct. Dan Haar (email@example.com) is columnist and associate editor of Hearst Connecticut Media and editor of Top Workplaces.