We are a nation divided. Split by strong views, and polar-opposite opinion. But I’m not talking about Leavers and Remainers, or Tories and Labour… no, this is a conflict that’s entirely location-based. One where the battleground is between office and home.
When the pandemic arrived, bringing with the wave of international lockdowns, remote working became a necessity to ensure business continuity. In some industries, this meant a steep learning curve. But despite this unexpected shift to Zoom calls and bedroom-to-living room commutes, most studies suggested that productivity stayed high.
While workers across the world felt the benefits of having time back, more flexibility, and the equalising nature of video meetings, many leaders have shown strong opposition to remote working becoming a ‘forever thing’.
72% of US leaders prefer workers in the office, two thirds of managers think it holds back people’s careers, and a similar amount see remote workers as replaceable – and that’s reflected in future planning, where only 24% plan to include increased remote working in their long-term business model.
Why is that? Many talk about the challenges of collaboration, the lack of visibility, employee loneliness, or an absence of trust that people are staying productive… but however valid their concerns, was remote working during the pandemic a fair representation?
Your choices aren’t just office or at home. Remote working should embrace the freedom to work whether you’re most productive. For some, that’s a busy coffee shop (especially since offices are quieter places than before!) and for others, that’s the solitude of a garden shed or, like it or not, a sunlounger on a particularly warm day. If people are happy and getting their work done effectively, what more can you ask?
Think about it: are all your recurring weekly meetings useful, or are they just a way to make sure people are online? If you’re genuinely concerned your employees are sleeping in ‘till lunch, you’ve got bigger problems (cough cough make better hires). Keep the important meetings, and embrace the freedom of working when suits – as long as your early birds and night owls both keep meeting targets, you’re all good.
Yes, collaboration is better face-to-face. But is the office the best place for that? Aside from the strange tension of hierarchy, and the worry of interrupting solo workers, maybe your office just isn’t that… good. Remote working means teams can meet up in a location of their choosing, whether it’s a coworking space, park, or restaurant. If you want creative juices flowing, then why not be creative with the location?
Whatever your preference, it might be time to listen to your employees. What do they really want? Are you willing to accommodate their preferences, or do you need help addressing the things that are putting them off the office? Either way, your best bet is our Returning to the Workplace survey.
Ask your team for their thoughts, and you can find the perfect balance – and so you can get answers fast, you can get started for free today: