Widespread vaccinations and increasing herd immunities caused the COVID-19 pandemic to slowly subside. This means that the dreaded lockdowns and quarantines are no longer an issue and people could now physically interact with their friends and colleagues.
However, this brings a new dilemma to workplace leaders as they address one important question: Should they start bringing their employees back to the office or stay remote for the foreseeable future?
To help answer this, Modern Health Founder and CEO Alyson Watson laid out four things to consider while business leaders are deciding what to do with their operations.
- Create Options. No two employees are the same. While the majority are pushing for remote work, others may need to work outside their homes to stay productive. Creating options provides real autonomy to employees and empowers them to make decisions based on what works best for them.
- Discuss Discrepancies Directly. While most workers are steering towards remote work models, Slack’s Future Forum Pulse showed that 68% of employers want to work in the office most of all of the time. This discrepancy could create conflict within the office. To resolve this, every team should have direct and open dialogues with each other. Leaders, especially, should listen to their employees without judgment and separate their personal preferences from the company’s standards.
- Be Transparent. Remote work is not all happiness and sunshine. Some are still finding it hard to adjust to the new work environment. As leaders, being transparent about the challenges and benefits of remote work encourages others to do the same.
- Importance of Intention and Trust. Creating and managing a hybrid workforce takes a tremendous amount of thought, planning, attention to detail, and execution. It also requires a huge amount of trust. If your instinct is to control and monitor your employees’ productivity, remote work is going to fail in your organization.
Remote work is far from easy, but many employees have made it clear that they want the option badly. In fact, Buffer.com’s State of Remote Work report showed that 97.6% of workers would like to work remotely for the rest of their careers.
This does not mean that leaders and managers should throw out their traditional work playbook. Rather, companies should use this time to evolve and adapt to the changes in the business world.
Instead of going back to the old ways, leaders should learn to embrace changes wholeheartedly — whether that means working remotely themselves or creating an inclusive and intentional environment in their organizations.