When the UK government dropped its ‘work from home’ guidance on January 19th this year, did something else drop too?
Has the penny begun to drop for employers, that the WFH culture they’ve supported over the last 2 years needs quickly to shift to something different?
Adapt and survive
Right now, office employees have adapted to become pretty used to working from home.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the best option – either for organisations, or for the employees themselves.
Above all, there are two huge advantages of remote working to most employees:
• The end of the dreaded and costly commute
• Greater flexibility to manage childcare and work-life balance
But there are also tangible advantages to spending significant time back in the office.
Many employers are realising - as they create and hone flexible and hybrid working models - that a communication and messaging plan is also needed, to encourage staff back into the office and help them see the workplace benefits they are missing out on.
Here then are our top 10 messages to encourage staff back into the workplace
1. Connection to culture
Remember how company culture was always so high on the list of priorities for job seekers? That’s for a reason. A positive culture of support, development and fun makes us feel good. Remote working breaks that culture-sharing connection.
Collaborative working relationships increase job satisfaction and decrease work life frustrations. Zoom calls and online teams simply can't replace the collaboration that happens in face-to-face workplace.
3. Common purpose
Sharing a common mission is key part of job satisfaction. Being around colleagues in the workplace fosters and nurtures this sense of sharing. Working remotely, doesn’t.
4. Work-life balance
WFH removed time spent commuting. But it also removed the physical line drawn at the end of the working day. Home working can make switching off, harder – both mentally and electronically - leading to a risk of employee burnout.
5. Homes are not designed to be workspaces
Bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchen tables, studies – whatever the WFH set-up, it can rarely provide what a workplace can provide: workstation facilities, workspace management solutions, equipment, decent office chairs (!), freedom from children/housemates/household chores - and from attention-hungry, food-hungry pets!
Networking has always been a key element of career progression: Getting to know who you need to know. Back in the workplace, staff can do their networking magic. WFH, they simply can't.
For many people, success and satisfaction in their job role and career comes from being creative: whether that be creative decision making, creative ideation and problem solving, or just plain creating stuff. Working from home hampers creativity. Being back in the office, inspires and sparks it.
The opposite of a WFH setup full of distractions, is a home working environment that is isolating – with little or no human contact with others, or social connections. The workplace can provide these crucial social connections.
9. New recruits
Anyone who’s started a new job in the last 2 years with an organisation that is predominantly home-working-based, will know just how hard that remote set up can be.
If you’re a new starter, you’ll want to be in the office, making connections, absorbing knowledge, and establishing your presence.
10. Getting about!
Yes, the commute can be a slog.
But physically going into a workplace is good for people’s physicality – it provides opportunities for walking, exercise, moving around.
All of which makes us feel physically fitter and better. ‘Commuting’ from the bedroom to the kitchen table is not good for employees’ physical health and wellbeing.
Sources and references