Remote work has become the norm in the post-pandemic world. These days, it’s more than just a privileged perk – it is estimated that 57% of employees work from home at the moment, while 2 in 5 will continue to do so by the end of 2021.
If you’re nervous about this transition back to the office, you’re not alone. Most businesses are worried they don’t have the necessary resources and logistics to ensure a successful return to work. Without a clear strategy in place, any “back-to-work” attempt is doomed to feel unpredictable and messy. And, it can leave employees LESS engaged than they were when working remotely.
One thing is for sure: a hybrid work model will be the best approach in these uncertain times. In simple terms, if some of your employees wish to continue working from home and the nature of their work allows it, you should make it happen, while also accommodating those employees who prefer office work.
The workplace dynamics have changed forever, and if you don’t adapt, you might lose your employees to someone who will. Still on the fence? Let’s address your doubts:
Is remote work less profitable for your business?
While the pandemic put a big dent in the global economy, remote work only had a small (1-3%) impact on productivity. In fact, it helped companies cut costs on office space and employees save money on commutes, coffee, lunch, and even outfits. Joining a zoom call in your underwear? I’m afraid this trend is here to stay.
The way workers manage their time has changed as well. Employees now have the freedom to take breaks at different times compared to the office, which may lead to a better work-life balance. However, this flexibility can leave a lot of room for interruptions – whether that’s deliveries, kids, or pets.
If you’re worried that your employees may not be engaged when working from home, ask yourself – how is productivity really measured? Attending a meeting, whether virtual or at the office, has never been a good indicator of efficiency. Instead, the focus should fall on task management and getting things done, regardless of when and where work happens.
Rather than forcing employees to be present, we should teach them how to better concentrate on their tasks and course-correct them if they’re not efficient.
Won’t a hybrid work model be confusing?
When companies started reopening their doors to their employees, they noticed new patterns of behavior. Unsurprisingly, Monday and Friday weren’t popular days for coming to the office. Once there, employees spent more time socializing in the conference rooms and lounges rather than their actual desks.
This pattern should give you clues on what steps to take when devising your “back-to-work” strategy:
- Ask for employee feedback – some love the social interaction and busy office life, while others would much rather stay home. Can you accommodate that?
- Introduce rotation in the office schedule – to fill the unpopular time slots at the office.
- Consider a phased approach – start with a 25% in-office capacity and then slowly increase to 50% or more.
- Plan for employee socialization – embrace it, support it, even encourage it when people are at the workplace.
Tools for flexible work are more important than ever.
Companies like Salesforce pride themselves on their flexible approach to work because they understand that more flexibility leads to more productivity. Their slogan “Success from Anywhere” centers on the employee’s wellbeing in a digital work model. We can all learn from that.
Now, more than ever, companies need tools for communication, transparency, and collaboration with their employees. With our Time Tracker for Salesforce, you can do just that – help support your employees so they can stay on track.
Using a time tracking app will help you:
- Replace the traditional office check-in;
- Facilitate project management;
- Allow manual entries for when real-time tracking isn’t possible.
Flexible and remote work have their benefits, but they’re also challenging for both companies and employees. When working from home, lines between personal time and work get blurry, and this can lead to burnout. Managers should regularly check their employees for signs of distress and adjust their tasks accordingly.
In these trying times, while we certainly don’t want employees to slack off, we shouldn’t want them to feel like they’re under constant surveillance, either. Relying on tech should help employees do their work on their own terms and establish trust and solid work relationships.
Like Doc said in Back to the Future, “Whatever happens Marty, don’t go to 2020!”. Well, we did go to 2020 and survived. And in 2021, it’s Back to the Office!
Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash