In the past year and a half, we have learned how quickly things can change. As the Pandemic begins to wane, many businesses are beginning to return to the office full time. However, returning full time has become the Next Great Debate for many employees and employers.

With a reported 10 million current open job opportunities nationwide, both employers and employees may be left standing on opposite sides of the workplace fence when it comes to returning to some semblance of what work life used to be.

Remote and hybrid work has led to employees (and some employers) realizing that working from home may be a viable, long-term option. Many have realized the benefits of remote work, including family time, less time commuting, more comfortable working conditions—and many don’t want to give that up.

A 2021 survey by Morning Consult of 1,000 US workers found that 39% would consider quitting their jobs if their employer did not provide a remote work environment. This number was even higher among Millennials and Gen Z: 49% stated they would consider leaving.

Many of you have been operating your businesses successfully in a remote or hybrid environment for the past 18 months. So, the question is, Why go back? And I will not be the only person asking… your workforce wants to know too.

For many companies, performance has actually increased while remote working. A 2021 study by Stanford University of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home actually increases productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was attributed to a quieter, more convenient working environment, which also include fewer breaks and fewer sick days.

While working from home can be more productive, there may be other aspects of work life that have suffered. What are we losing by not being in the office? Has the company culture suffered? Has collaboration slipped?

While remote work has its perks, you may want to consider these potential downfalls.

  • Remote work can cause individuals to feel like they are working in a silo.
  • Remote workers have reported that they do not receive feedback in a timely manner.
  • Remote workers often struggle to get answers to pressing questions quickly.

And while results are important, there are some cultural concerns to consider as well.

  • Do you believe that collaborating in person is important?
  • Has communication suffered in the remote environment? Would in person work be more conducive to assisting your team in understanding company goals and achieving your shared mission.
  • Is your business viewed as an example within your community? Are others looking to you to set the tone?
  • Do you miss the comradery of a busy office, like talking about the latest episode of “Succession” over your morning coffee?

Before welcoming everyone back to the office, it is important to discover the real motivation for bringing people back into the workplace full time. ALT HR Partners can help you think through this important decision and assist you as you communicate your message to your employees.

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