Levy is a consultant at Human Synergistics.
We have all heard that Musk sent an email to all his staff saying that remote work is no longer acceptable and that anyone who wants to do it must be in the office for at least 40 hours a week.
He said in the email that if you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned. Musk wrote “They should pretend to work somewhere else” in reply to a follower who asked for more comments on people who think coming into work is antiquated.
What does it mean for us in New Zealand? The post from Musk has led to some interesting discussions on social media platforms about the antiquated water coolers.
The employees who were fired for criticising Musk in an open letter were not the first ones.
The discussion was joined in by the chief executive of the company.
I was surprised when I saw it on my feed. One of the most successful companies in the 21st century is led by a CEO who has done some incredible things and argued that employees need to be back in the office full time. We don’t agree with each other. We put in long hours when our customers need us, but there is no way that this should be the norm.
Why make the effort?
The Great Resignation movement and a labour shortage are still being used by most organizations.
With more firms seeking a diminishing pool of talent, it’s more important than ever to make sure your ways of working are attractive to people who want to live and work in a modern way.
You will be able to keep the great people you have. People don’t tend to leave a job per se, we leave a culture or way of work that doesn’t suit or align with our needs
Scott Farquhar, an Australian billionaire, had a spat with Musk after he suggested that he would be happy to take Musk’s staff for remote working positions.
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These are only the opinions of a couple of billionaires, so who is right?
Some recent research into the area of working from home and hybrid work, some in person and some remote.
Workers in an on-site office environment were 22% happier than workers in remote and hybrid offices, according to research by Owl Labs. When they were only in the office, remote workers were more productive and had less stress. Working from home was more beneficial for the physical and mental well-being of employees.
There must be some drawbacks. They’re important to consider when designing the right hybrid or ways of working for your organisation. Workers who are in-person are more likely to get promoted. It is difficult to overcome recency bias. Remote working can make it hard for an employee to network and meet new people.
According to a large study by Steelcase, hybrid is the most popular mode of work for companies around the world, with 22% hybrid, 5% office, and 22% telecommuting.
No commute, no office distraction and better work-life balance are some of the benefits of having someWFH. Productivity, isolation and lack of engagement tend to be the challenges. Blending the best of both modes can be accomplished with an effective co-designed hybrid plan.
At Human Synergistics, we have found that hybrid working has been one of the silver linings that has been embraced by organizations from a vast array of industries. Work is needed to make hybrid work effectively. It comes down to three important areas.
Building constructive leadership and culture is something that should be focused on. Provide clarity, encourage confident decision-making, support capability building for demographic that need support to make hybrid work easy and ensure everyone can connect with teammates in ways that make sense to their work.
Don’t design your hybrid way of working. If you want your hybrid work to look different to someone else, make sure the process is fair, inclusive, connected to customer/stakeholder outcomes and easy to understand. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy thrust on people.
The building should be made to work for your people. Key productivity drivers will be affected by changes in working arrangements when thinking about jobs and tasks We need to design a better way of working in our offices with the help of our technology.
The small ways that we engage are important. Think about how you will communicate with your hybrid team in a way that doesn’t require everyone to be in the same room at the same time. A client of ours uses groups on the messaging platform to communicate. Team members can access this information whenever they need it. The app is free and it saves time and money for the organisation.
If you design hybrid work well, you can provide clarity so your team members don’t feel guilty or make ill-informed choices that negatively impact on their productivity and wellbeing. Make sure that the change is done by the team and not done to them via an email that is threatening to all staff.
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