In 2020, many professionals became remote workers for the first time whether they wanted to or not. Company leadership was forced to learn how to manage a remote workforce on the fly. And many feared what this unforeseen shift could mean for their firm’s bottom line and company culture.
The social conversation around the pros & cons of working at home versus working in the office was immediate—and has continued for the past two years. As we enter 2023, many companies are looking to refine their policies and identify a successful formula for their team.
While there is no right answer or magic formula, the hybrid workforce—in some capacity—is here to stay.
Benefits of Working from Home + Office
We could debate continuously about which way to work is better or more effective without resolution. There are true perks to both working at home and working at the office.
Some claim working at home garners:
- Better performance due to a flexible schedule and increased job satisfaction
- Ownership of work due to more autonomy
- Higher productivity due to fewer distractions
- Greater efficiency due to fewer hours spent commuting
On the other hand, working at an office has many benefits:
- Company culture thrives when employees are connected
- Collaboration, and thus creativity, is easier to achieve in-person
- Face-to-face communication is invaluable for progress and promotions, particularly among more junior employees
- Companies gain more insight into employees’ work lives
Hybrid Workplace: A Reasonable Solution
Taking into consideration all the benefits of both home-based and office-based work plus the fact that all employees cannot be pleased equally, offering a hybrid workplace tends to be a reasonable solution and a healthy path forward. A company’s hybrid mix will depend on the type of goods and/or services provided as well as an employee’s position.
One thing is certain, business leaders cannot just go back to the way things were if they want to remain relevant and be an attractive workplace to existing employees and new candidates.
To stay competitive in hiring good talent, companies should seriously consider offering options such as flexible work weeks where it makes sense. This could take the form of working from home on Monday and Friday but working in the office Tuesday through Thursday. Alternatively, a less formalized structure which allows for home-based work when in-person meetings aren’t scheduled could be another way of accomplishing those goals.
No Perfect Formula
Some employees will absolutely embrace a hybrid option like the one suggested above, and some employees will still want to come to the office every day of the week. We also remain strong advocates of junior employees being in the office as much as possible because the ability to absorb company culture and receive true mentorship is much greater in-person.
The good news is the company wins either way. When given options, employees feel valued. In addition to having flexibility and autonomy, knowing a company values face-to-face collaboration and company culture gives employees peace of mind.
Flexibility Is Key
A recent Atlanta Business Chronicle article says, “Experts say the dynamics of the labor market are likely to leave workers with significant leverage in 2023.” Therefore, companies must consider their options.
To now attract all generations of workers—from Gen X to Gen Z and all the Millennials in between—flexibility with clear expectations should be a trademark of company policy.
We encourage leadership to evaluate what their company needs to thrive and then create a workplace plan that maximizes productivity while delivering managed flexibility for employees.