Through the pandemic, we’ve written about the future of work. While remote work is here to stay in some capacity, many companies are still looking to bring employees back to a physical office. It can be difficult to change views when you’ve only known one perspective. Fortunately, experts are sharing their findings on the topic.
In a recent interview, MIT expert Thomas Malone made it clear that, while some industries require in-person workers, companies outside those spaces have no excuse. Malone, author and founding director of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, noted that most of those who are pushing for a return to the office are older and higher ups within their companies. Despite the message coming from company leadership, Malone doesn’t believe this will diminish employee desires to remain remote. The reasons are simple.
A company is nothing without its employees. Ultimately, if employees aren’t interested in company initiatives or policies, they can inform their HR department. Businesses pushing for employees to return to work often frame the initiative as a move to save company culture. But companies do not have to be in–person to maintain company culture. So what happens if companies require employees to return to the office, regardless of workforce sentiment?
In the era of “the great resignation,” employees are comfortable saying farewell to jobs that don’t offer flexibility. And companies with rigid in-office policies pay the price. How? Consider the recruiting process.
Creating a job listing and then picking the best candidate can take anywhere from a month to three. Getting that new hire to a place where they can do their work as required for the position will be a minimum of six months from posting to performing. That’s a considerable investment of time, money and resources. When a person leaves, that process starts fresh. Additionally, depending on their department, other employees take on the duties of the vacant position, adding to their typical duties.
Retaining talent should always be a company priority. Being inflexible on where employees work puts retention at risk.
Employers may take issue with remote work in any number of ways. Topping the list may be a claim of diminished productivity. However, in a study of 1,356 working groups, researchers found that remote workers can be as effective as those working in the office. It’s not about where employees are working, but how they are working. Employees supported in their collaborative efforts stand a better chance of success than those who are given nothing. Additionally, remote environments are better for gathering employees with a mix of skills than an in-office location.
The days of the traditional office are behind us. Employees aren’t looking for corner offices and break room treats. They value flexibility in their schedule, and the ability to do work as they’re needed, wherever they’re located. Employees also value employers that support them as they work anywhere. Companies should provide remote workers with reimbursements for the business use of their personal utilities. What does that look like? Learn more about our WorkAnywhere Reimbursement.