As life begins to return to normal in many ways, companies are considering how to get employees back to the traditional in-person work setting. While in-person work has its merits, and the office environment does allow for more cohesive teamwork, some employees are pushing back against mandates to return to the office. Many employees have been working remotely for two years, and they may not believe it is necessary or safe to return to a pre-COVID office environment.
Some companies are mandating that all employees return to the office. These same companies are seeing a high rate of personnel turnover and backlash. Major businesses, such as Google and Uber, have backed away from these mandates after significant negative feedback, allowing employees to work remotely. Many others have hybrid schedules that balance both in-person and virtual work. Still, it seems that too many employers may be pushing a return to the office without considering how this could impact their employees.
There is evidence proving that in-person work is not necessary in order to do many types of jobs well. Employees are often able to meet most or all of the requirements of their jobs by working from home. In fact, there is evidence that employees are often more productive when they are able to work from home. Business leaders have to adjust to the reality that a traditional office setting may no longer be useful, necessary or productive in the way it was pre-COVID.
Employers who want to succeed in this new business world would be wise to consider how to keep employees happy while also encouraging productivity. If this means allowing more remote work, rotating schedules or different types of hybrid schedules, flexibility and creative thinking will be key. Innovation and focusing on the physical and mental well-being of employees will allow companies to balance different types of work schedules while still moving forward.