We’ve been working remotely for almost two years now, and many companies are ready to call workers back into the office.
There’s been a long list of organizations that have tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to bring everyone back to their cubicles. Unfortunately, high COVID infection rates, confusing CDC policies, and low vaccination rates have forced many of these companies to keep everyone remote — at least part of the week.
Do you work for a company that wants employees to return to the office?
If so, you might want to challenge those requests (or at least question them). Many employees are so unhappy about this that they’re willing to walk to keep working from home. Find out how to handle a clash in employee/company culture and keep everyone — including the higher-ups — happy.
Why do companies want workers to return to the office?
We have all the work-from-home data. We know employees are much more productive when they’re working at home. So why do companies want everyone to return to the office then anyway?
It comes down to the two Cs: company culture and control.
One of the biggest downfalls of the work-from-home model was a loss of company culture. It isn’t easy to ensure everyone is on-brand all the time when they’re not in the office.
Yet, was the loss of company culture because employees were working from home? Or was it because everyone was living through an unprecedented event and companies stopped promoting such culture?
There, we said it. The mass return to the office is really about control, isn’t it?
Allowing employees to work remotely can be a little scary. They’re being paid for a certain number of hours per day and employers want to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth, right?
But what if it didn’t matter how many hours a day someone worked? What matters more than productivity?
Innovation, creativity, and collaboration. And if working remotely fosters these skills, why not let go of the reigns a little?
Benefits of Allowing Employees to Work From Home
We’ve said it before, and we’re happy to repeat ourselves: allowing employees to remotely or in a hybrid model is beneficial to both employees and employers.
Working from home isn’t just a workplace trend anymore.
Some of the main benefits? Healthier employees, higher productivity, and better retention rates.
How many days a week did your employees call out sick before the pandemic? And now that there’s another virus that could potentially keep workers home for weeks at a time?
When we’re working remotely, we’re less likely to spread germs and diseases. It’s that simple.
Allowing employees to work from home will keep them healthier, leading to fewer sick days and a higher quality of work.
We discovered in 2020 that working from home didn’t lead to less productivity — it led to more productivity, longer hours, and better quality work.
Better Retention Rates/Attract Quality Talent
Workers seem to be happier when they work from home (or at least when they have the choice to work from home).
And with employees ready to make big moves and even willing to change career paths during the Great Resignation, retention matters now more than ever.
If your employees (or recruits) want to work from home, the best way to keep them happy is to listen to them — and make them feel heard. If they want to work remotely and are at least given the option to do so, they’re more likely to accept an offer and stick around once they’re hired.
Many companies are encouraging remote and hybrid models, and your recruits and employees might just find a job elsewhere if you’re not offering competitive benefits.
How to Get In-Office Benefits Remotely
Yes, it’s possible to get an in-office experience while working remotely. You just need to be more mindful of the type of culture you want to create in a remote setting.
Before cutting your team loose, consider ways to keep your collaboration vibes flowing once everyone is out of the office.
Create a Culture of Trust
If you didn’t trust your employees, would you have hired them in the first place? Besides, does it matter how many hours they’re working as long as they’re completing their work?
Consider creating a culture that values creativity, innovation, and trust.
According to Accenture, “People at high-trust companies experience 74% less stress.” They’re also 50% more productive, take 13% fewer sick days, and experience 40% less burnout.
To put it simply, they’re happier and have the energy to perform tasks to the best of their ability.
Instead of checking timesheets to monitor productivity, monitor task-oriented milestones. Are your employees completing their tasks in an appropriate amount of time? If not, ask them what you can do to help.
If they are completing their tasks efficiently, don’t forget to praise their efforts.
Try a Hybrid Model
Not ready to let your employees roam free just yet? Consider a hybrid remote work model.
If your employees are onsite five days a week, allow them to work from home one day a week or even two days a week.
Assess how it’s going. What works? What needs improvement? Ask your remote employees how you can better support them.
Schedule In-Person Events
Another reason companies what to bring their employees back to the office is that teams will lose their special sauce, X factor, or mojo if they’re not in the same room together.
Does your team really need to be in the same space day after day to enjoy a rapport? And do they even bond that much on an average day in the office?
Consider scheduling team-building events once a quarter and socialization days once a month.
Use New Technology
And we’re not talking about surveillance technology, either (yes, many companies are requiring employees to use this tech to monitor their work).
Invest in technology to help remote workers feel less remote — like team collaboration software (it’s most likely less expensive than your office’s rent and maintenance fees). Use video conferencing software to help your workers share their screens with each other during collaboration sessions.
Above all, invest in technology and services to support your workers during the pandemic (and beyond!). Still want your employees to return to the office? Consider hiring us to help you manage the transition!