As the pandemic continues its cycles of waning and resurging like a bad storm that won’t end, companies are weighing the options of remote workers versus in-office employees. Even as we look forward to the hopeful future, when the pandemic storm finally ends, we have to ask what is the best solution for a workforce that has gotten into the routine of working from home? Do you bring them all back? Do you keep them working remotely? Or is there a hybrid approach?
Many companies were pleasantly surprised by how successful they were when they were forced to quickly transition to an all-remote work situation. Many companies thought that remote work would result in an unengaged and low productivity staff. In fact, the opposite is true, as remote workers are statistically much more productive than those that work in an office. Statistics have shown that remote workers are 7-13% more productive than their in-office counterparts.
Also, offering remote work-based positions aids in company hiring and retention, as it is a highly desirable benefit: If a company doesn’t allow remote work, three in ten employees said they would seek another job. According to a Gallup poll in October 2021, 91% of workers in the US who were working at least partially from home hoped to continue to work from home in some capacity, even after the pandemic ended. Overall, 54% of employees said they would like to work in a hybrid arrangement (where they could split their time between an office and home), 37% said they would like to work from home exclusively, and only 9% wanted to return to the office full time.
If this is the case, why transition back to an in-office situation? It’s important to weigh whether bringing employees back in-office is based on a valid reason, or on outdated fears and policies. Most fears of keeping to a remote environment, such as a negative impact on productivity, communication, or culture, are unfounded. All of these things can be overcome by using management methods designed for a remote workforce. It is easy to keep that culture and cohesion alive in remote teams with the right techniques. If a hybrid approach is taken, it’s important to manage the entire team with management styles that favor the remote worker. Too often, hybrid approaches, if not managed correctly, fall short of what the remote team needs, leaving them disconnected from the rest of the company, and passed over for growth opportunities.
To avoid the whiplash of employees trying to adapt to in-office as well as remote policies, it might be worth considering a permanent remote work solution. The remote work approach will remain more stable and safer as the pandemic ebbs and flows.
What do you really want? Productive, happy workers in a thriving company culture? It can be obtained more optimally with a remote workforce. As the pandemic storm ends, the companies that thrive in this new climate will be working remotely.
Learn more about the best management techniques for a remote workforce with AdvantEdge Training’s Managing Remote Employees course.