For many companies, remote working is now the norm. The employees took advantage of the work from home concept throughout the last two years. Now there is friction for some who do not want to return to the office.
Some businesses could adopt remote work, hybrid work, or work from home, anywhere in the world. Some cannot. For some companies, the resultant savings that come with staff not being in the office can outweigh the benefits of them all being in the same space.
If the business does not need a lot of collaboration, or relationships, there is no reason for the staff to be in one room.
Many people work differently. The analytical and strategic brains need a quiet space to work. The home environment can work well for them unless kids are at home disrupting the thinking process. On the other hand, sales need to be out in the field, bonding and building relationships with their customers, channels, and suppliers.
It does depend on the industry and product/service offering that is required. Elon Musk sent an email to all Tesla employees instructing them to return to the office. The all too blunt Musk said that he would assume they have resigned if they did not.
Some SA companies are also facing some pushback from employees. Some of them relocated families to remote cities and towns, hoping that they could continue to work remotely after the pandemic was over.
For the micromanager, this is a nightmare situation.
The pros and cons of a back to work ultimatum
If your business has decided that it is back to office time, consider a few things.
What jobs at the business worked better remotely? The jobs can include journalists, writers, number crunchers, or strategic positions. If you use performance and task-based analysis, it is easy to see if the staff member was more or less productive when they could do the work independently, from anywhere.
Question how the sales team succeeded without the drama and time-wasting traffic to get to the office. What positions or staff did not benefit or succeed at working remotely? For some, a team environment spurs some creativity. Maybe younger staff members need the senior staff there to teach and mentor them?
Can your business function with a hybrid model?
The main benefits of working from home or a hybrid model are cost and time savings. Everyone can see that online meetings benefit people who would otherwise spend three hours driving to and from an hour-long session. You can calculate efficiencies from a productivity perspective:
- Saving in fuel consumption
- Congestion on the roads
- Even the expense of coffee and tea at the office
Take a detailed review of the cost to benefit ratio in your specific business, and then you can make an informed decision based on data.
What happens if staff do not want to return to the office?
Again, you can take an individual approach. Assess if the person can do the job remotely, better than being in the office, it may be a consideration. If not, you can revert to the original job spec and letter of appointment.
If the staff member has relocated cities and cannot be in the office, the job offer can potentially dissolve, as they would not have been offered the position based on the current circumstances.
Every business has to evolve sometime. It cannot be a black or white answer for many people. There can be some discussion, negotiation, and repercussions if necessary.
How is your business managing your staff today?
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