Are you struggling to decide whether to let your employees work remotely, hybrid (remote and in the office a few days a week), or fully return to the office?
A lot of employers are facing the same decision. But that doesn’t make it any easier. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that remote work is certainly possible. But you still need to wear something covering your bottom half - just in case!
According to Resume Builder, as many as 9 in 10 companies plan to return to office by the end of 2024. Naturally, there’s been some pushback — many employees enjoy the flexibility of remote work, but some companies have even threatened to dismiss employees who don’t comply with the return to office policy.
So, what should you do? Should you make it mandatory for employees to return to office? Or should you explore other options, such as remote work, working from home, or a mix of both? This blog post explores the current work landscape to help you make the best decision for your business.
Why return to the office?
A 2023 study from Stanford on the Evolution of Work from home found a 10 to 20% reduction in productivity when working from home. This was because of numerous challenges in communication, coordination, and multitasking.
For employers, it seems like a no-brainer to mandate a return to office. Communication and coordination can be improved, and productivity will increase, right?
Kinda. But we’re forgetting the challenges that come part and parcel with a return to office — the lengthy commutes, noisier work environments, office attire and less flexibility. And let’s not forget childcare and pet-sitting costs.
What about remote work?
Lots of companies returned full time to office in 2023 and even more are expected to follow suit by the end of 2024. However, survey results from Owl Labs found that 66% of workers are in the office full-time, but only 22% want to be. When the numbers don’t match, workers may start looking for new jobs and others may quit. That’s worse than a dip in productivity — you now have re-training and hiring costs.
41% of employees want to work remotely — it’s their preferred working style. A further 37% prefer a hybrid approach and 22% of workers actually want to work from the office. Meanwhile 66% of employers mandate their workers to come into the office and work.
There seems to be a miscommunication between employers and employees. Employers are mandating a return to work based on statistics — but are forgetting that each organization is different. Carefully consider what’s best for your company AND workers.
What about a hybrid approach?
While some companies successfully trialed a 4-day work week, others let their employees work from the office and home. According to Owl Labs, 3 days a week in-office is the most popular for hybrid workers.
Hybrid working helps employees save money and cuts down on regular commuting — which sometimes takes up to 45 minutes one-way.
The hybrid approach is the middle ground — it allows you to test a return to office while still letting your workers work remotely. If anything, it’s worth experimenting with.
Listen to your employees
Statistics and yearly surveys help us decide what the world of work currently looks like. And although most companies are planning a full-time return to office by the end of 2024, it doesn’t mean you need to follow suit (if you don’t want to).
Instead, listen to your employees. Hear what they have to say. Some may want to return to the office; others may prefer remote or hybrid working. Maybe trial a 3 days a week in-office and 2 days remote. See how it goes and adapt as needed. But keep your employees in the loop!
Most importantly, whatever option you choose, do your best to promote psychological safety, compassion, and physical activity. This will help keep your community strong — your employees will be more likely to talk to you and you’ll find the best solution for your place of work.
Talk with us now to explore impactful strategies for nurturing your employees' well-being, whether they're working remotely, on-site, or in a hybrid setting.