The death of the office is being claimed by people. Working from home doesn’t cut it for many jobs, and it may not become a thing of the past. An organized hybrid model that recognizes the benefits of flexibility on the productivity and well-being of employees is a solution for the future.
Executives and employees need to be ready to return to offices in the near future. Many companies are going to return to the office after two years of working from home. In a hybrid model that might not be so optional, companies like Citigroup, BNY Mellon, American Express, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase are all calling workers back to work. If workers don’t come back to the office, a majority of managers would take action.
What is the future of the workplace like, and how does the hybrid model fit in?
It comes down to what you think about it. Who is in control of power? Businesses needed people to work from home because they were not prepared for the flu. The technological infrastructure that made that possible has grown leaps and bounds. Work no longer required a long commute, but rather a trip to the coffee pot and a seat at the kitchen table, all of a sudden.
Employees can determine the future of the work environment if the job market is more competitive. More than two-thirds of U.S. and U.K. workers who experienced more work flexibility during the Pandemic want employers to prioritize work-life balance moving forward The question is if the benefits of working from home outweigh the consequences.
Employees who worked from home for nine months were more productive than their in-office counterparts, according to a case study. The bigger question is whether someone is pushing the business forward by being more productive. The efficiency of a business is larger than that of an individual employee.
Collaborative workers, individuals tasked with creative projects in virtual teams, report feeling less like family and more like workers. The best creative work takes place when a team is in a state of flow, focusing their collective attention on a single task, but remote work makes it difficult to keep everyone engaged.
This doesn’t affect the productivity of all roles, but it affects all employees. Workers feel more connected to their teammates when they work on-site compared to home workers.
Many people want more than just a paycheck. Creating a sense of unity and camaraderie through high levels of communication among supervisors and staff, opportunity for employees to provide input and feedback, and a feeling of common values and goals are some of the things that strengthen company culture.
The success of the company is tied to people’s perception of their relationships and sense of belonging in the workplace. A positive perception of the family approach leads to increased employee retention and recruitment, improved performance, and overall positive feelings associated with the workplace.
It would be difficult to find an employer that says it is easier to build those kinds of relationships online. If you compare it to online dating, you can only get so far because you have to meet in person to make a decision.
In the future, organizations will need to teach people how to create work and make the time in the office beneficial for themselves as well. It needs to come in as an entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurs who are forced to spend time in a certain place allocate most of that time to networking, building business, and sharing ideas. The senior people in the organizations are doing it.
The hybrid model may be the future for many organizations, but they will have to create a healthy culture that supports different types of employees. It will take time to make hybrid work. Why are employees coming back to work? The way they prepare their people for that return to the office should be driven by the answer.
Bellwether is a talent coaching firm founded by Jim Frawley. He helps corporations maximize their growth.