As we start to resume our regular work-life programming, organizations and employees alike are weighing whether to return to the office, stick with remote working, or meet somewhere in the middle. While many employees are contemplating a perpetual remote working situation, companies have mixed feelings. Notably, the tech behemoths who told employees they could work from home indefinitely are now encouraging workers to return to the office - and they're not alone.
The thing is that remote working is great for some, and not so great for others. For many, a mix of the two is the sweet spot. Here's how to figure out which option is right for your company.
When Remote Working Makes Sense
Sticking with the work-from-home option can be a good bet for your organization if:
- Your workforce is distributed. If your workers are primarily freelancers, live all over, or commute long distances, remote working can help you save on real estate costs.
- Your employees have discrete, siloed tasks. If your workers (or even just some of them) can perform their tasks individually and without regular input and collaboration from you or their colleagues, it may be worth sticking with remote working or allowing some employees to work from home.
- You don't deal with clients or customers. Companies that don't spend much face-to-face time with customers or clients don't need to spend up on expensive office space. Consider sticking with remote working and renting the occasional meeting space instead.
- Your work is done off-site. When the majority of your work is performed out of the office, having a central workplace might not be needed. Instead, reserve a few seats at a coworking space so you can take advantage of those office perks on an as-needed basis.
- Your workforce is high-risk or has low vaccination levels. Depending on where you're based, the composition of your workforce, and the vaccination levels in your area, you might want to give in-person working a pass - at least for now.
- Your workers want it! If your employees are loving working from home and productivity levels are where they need to be, give the people what they want.
When In-Person Working Is The Best Choice
Returning to pre-pandemic working can be the way to go for your business if:
- Your business is creative and collaborative. Creativity doesn't happen in a vacuum. For best results, you want to be able to get your creative teams in a room together - and that means in-person working is your best option.
- Your work is time-critical. If your work involves tough deadlines and constant communication, it can be much more efficient to bring people back into the office. Popping over to someone's desk is much faster than emailing back and forth.
- You deal with clients or customers in person. If you're regularly meeting with clients and need to put your best foot forward, it's better to do so somewhere you can meet with them in-person rather than over Zoom or the phone.
- You feel like your work culture is slipping. Some workplaces are heavily built around a particular work culture that can start to slip when people aren't working face to face. A bunch of new hires, job moves, changes in the hierarchy, or a new brand roll-out are all good reasons to opt for in-person working.
- Your employees need the infrastructure, amenities, and space. Not all locations or home set-ups are great for remote working. If your employees are struggling with poor internet connections, weather-related downtime, or are finding it hard to be productive at home, a return to in-person working can be the better choice.
When Flexible Working Is Worth a Try
The research shows that employees like the flexibility of working from home, but the collaborativeness and distance from disruptions that come with office-based working. For some organizations, a partial, flexible return to office-based working can be a good solution. Try it when:
- We're in the transition phase. If employees are uncertain about the safety of returning to the office, allow them to return on their own terms. It might be a day here or there, or a few days a week.
- Employees ask for it. Some employees are juggling responsibilities as parents or carers and may be struggling to balance the responsibilities with 9-5 working. Give employees flexibility around where and how they work so that they can give their best to all aspects of their lives.
- You're not sure how things will play out. Maybe your business has changed, your workforce has changed, or your company culture has changed. A flexible approach to returning to in-person working will let you address these shifts and course-correct if necessary.
Get Some Insight From the Experts
Working from home isn't for everyone, but neither is in-person working - especially after this past year. If you're not sure which path is best for your organization, or you need some tips for creating a plan for a safe and efficient working environment, talk to the team at StellaPop. We'll give you what you need to keep productivity, staff morale, and profits high!