Is it time for employees to return to the office? Some company leaders seem to think so. Last month, a leaked memo revealed that Elon Musk demanded that Tesla employees return to the office to work a minimum of 40 hours a week. If workers did not show up, Musk said, “We will assume you have resigned.” Musk faced backlash for this move, but Tesla is not the only company trying to force employees to return to the office. Goldman Sachs’ CEO David Solomon also insisted that employees return to the office in February, but only half of the workers showed up.
The problem with requiring workers to return to the office is that it contradicts what we now know about hybrid work. Allowing employees to work from home boosts employee productivity, decreases turnover, and widens the talent pool for new positions. However, there are also challenges leaders should be aware of when shifting to a hybrid or fully remote work environment, and we’ve listed some tips on how to address these challenges moving forward.
Remote work gives employees more flexibility and autonomy over their time. The Pew Research Center reports that 64% of employees found it easier to balance their work and personal lives by working remotely. Another 44% shared that remote work makes it easier to meet their deadlines.
Also, remote work is inclusive. People with disabilities and neurodivergent employees may have sensory issues that make working in a bright, noisy office challenging. Some may also have difficulty finding accessible transportation. Companies are also more likely to attract diverse talent who live outside of the cities where offices are located.
Finally, workers are less concerned about COVID-19 exposure and are now working remotely because they want to. The McKinsey study found that over 25% of employees would leave a company if leaders required them to return to the office full-time. Remote options could be considered a retention tool for a happier workforce.
With employees living all over the world, scheduling meetings can be difficult in a remote environment when finding times to meet as a team. Communication is also challenging. If some workers are in the office while others are not, those working remotely may miss the hallway conversations or impromptu meetings that turn out to be critical for their projects.
Some people also prefer to work in an office. PwC found that employees with less experience are more likely to want to come into the office more frequently. Thirty percent of less experienced workers reported that they would go into the office four days a week.
While employees may be more productive working remotely, it can come with a cost. The McKinsey study found that remote workers report increasing anxiety levels due to uncertainty about the future of hybrid work. Employees are also more likely to experience symptoms of burnout in places where leaders are not communicating their vision and plans for the company work environment.
To reap the benefits of remote work and mitigate some of its challenges, company leaders can do the following:
Perfeqta is here to work with your organization to help create a supportive and inclusive work environment, whether your team is virtual or in the office.
Through programming, consistent listening sessions, and an action-driven roadmap, Perfeqta has worked with dozens of organizations that have transformed their company cultures into workplaces where all employees feel seen, heard, and safe – no matter where they’re located.
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