Could Forcing Employees Back to the Office Backfire?

As companies continue to walk the tightrope of bringing workers back to the office, remaining remote, or working in a hybrid model, one thing is clear: workers are apprehensive about going back to the office.

For the past two and a half years, workers have been finding what works best for them at their home offices, finding a balance of work and life that many people were not privileged to prior to the pandemic. Managers and decision makers must take this into account when they look to bring people back to the office.

Most importantly, if you bring workers back into the office, make sure there is good reason to do so. If an arbitrary number of days back in-office are assigned, it can brew resentment amongst workers who feel they are there unnecessarily.

For example, say John A. shows up for one of his three mandatory days in the office, but none of his other team members are in the office that day. All John got out of his in-office day was a commute back and forth. Assign teams days to come in together, so it doesn’t feel like a waste for employees.

If your return-to-work strategy isn’t thought through carefully with employees in mind, you could push them to leave the company, leaving you with a talent shortage. The simple truth is, if employees or teams are working more efficiently at home, there’s no need to interrupt the workflow.

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