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Should You Force Your Employees to Come Back to the Office?

COVID has changed everything. But, of course, the shape of COVID itself keeps changing. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic makes it difficult to determine whether it’s time to force your employees to come back to the office. 

But there’s a bigger question at play: should you ever compel your workers to return to their previous schedules? Or has the pandemic so dramatically changed the shape of work that you should embrace a future where remote work has become the norm? 

The answer is complex. As you attempt to craft the right policy for your company, here are a few factors to keep in mind as you consider the value of a return to the office. 

Benefits of Forcing Your Employees Back to the Office 

It’s never fun to deliver unpopular news. Making a policy that ends remote work and forces all your staff back to the office is bound to anger and inconvenience at least some of your employees. However, it might be necessary. 

It’s important to know the potential benefits before you dive into a decision. Here are a few upsides you get from pushing for a mandatory in-office return: 

  • Improve Casual Collaboration: Your team members will be able to gather and communicate easily. What’s more, these interactions can happen in unexpected ways, driving unexpected innovation. 
  • Develop Culture More Easily: Having people together lets you build a shared sense of purpose. It’s easier to communicate and to develop a sense of community. 
  • Build Teamwork: Even with modern communication, remote work comes with a certain sense of isolation. A return to in-office work makes it easier to nurture bonds and foster teamwork. 
  • Encourage Better Social Connections: Help your employees get to know each other as people. They’ll work better together over time and create important friendships that can enrich the rest of their lives.  

Drawbacks of Forcing Your Employees Back to the Office 

Yes, there are obvious benefits to gain from in-person working. But you can’t rush into a decision. You also need to consider the potential drawbacks of dictating an aggressive policy. 

By demanding your employees return to the workplace, you open the door to many problems. Such a move can: 

  • Limit Flexibility: A rigid in-office policy limits your scheduling options. 
  • Create Unnecessary Tension: Taking a harsh stance on remote work can weigh on team spirit. This can make it harder to recruit and increase turnover. 
  • Undermine Your Investment in Remote Work: You spent a lot of resources building out your remote capabilities during COVID. Ignoring that option now squanders that investment. 
  • Reduce Your Hiring Options: An in-office policy limits your hiring pool to people in your geographical area. On the other hand, a remote option lets you draw talent from all over. 

Consider the Hybrid Model 

You shouldn’t think of the back-to-work dilemma as a binary problem. Don’t consider it a choice between five days a week in the office and a free-for-all where your employees dictate every aspect of their work schedules. A middle ground exists. 

A hybrid model lets you balance your needs with the desires of your coworkers. You can make some in-office appearances mandatory while leaving other times up to individual employees. This way, you can gain some of the benefits of both sides of the debate, while limiting the overall risks to your operation. 

A hybrid model lets you: 

  • Personalize Solutions: Each of your employees can have input into the type of schedule that suits them best. 
  • Encourage Flexibility: Your individual team members enjoy malleability schedules. At the same time, your overall organization has additional optionality.  
  • Stay Ready for Future Emergencies: What do you do if COVID hits again? A hybrid system makes sure you stay ready. 

Contact Recruiting In Motion today to get started. 

Building a hybrid model gets easier when you have the right workers in place. A top recruiter, like Recruiting In Motion, can find you the talent you need to compete. 

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