Why A ‘Return To The Office’ Needs Careful Handling
Posted on 14th August 2023 at 13:09
Getting staff to use an office printer instead of a home printer is not simple these days, for trying to recall staff after the pandemic remains challenging.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, many office-based enterprises benefitted from the flexibility that enabled their staff to work from home. But that has in turn made it hard to get them back into the office, whatever the proclaimed career development benefits of ‘water cooler moments’ and face-to-face meetings are.
The reality is that if staff can use a laptop at home instead of one at work, or use a home printer instead of an office printer, the appeal of getting up later and avoiding a commute is compelling. So should you do away with the printer, laptops, and everything else in the office or find ways of getting them back in, either by incentive or instruction?
This is undoubtedly a minefield. Writing for People Management, head of employment at solicitors Mayo Wynne Baxter Martin Williams recommended both making significant changes to workplaces and consulting extensively with staff to get them to buy into the idea of returning.
Noting that “the genie is well and truly out of the bottle,” the article highlighted the fact that even major global corporations like Disney, Amazon and Apple have come under fire for trying to simply compel staff to come back. A key issue is that many workers forced to come back might find it quite easy to soon find a job that enables them to work remotely.
Indeed, compulsion may have some negative impacts, according to Gleb Tsipursky of Intentional Insights, writing for the US-based magazine Psychology Today. The situation across the pond is the same as here; many have become very attached to remote working.
Mr Tsipursky argued that the survey data shows clearly that hybrid working brings greater productivity, not the reduction many employers thought it might. He noted that research shows office work is better for mentoring, collaboration and training, but not for singular, focused concentration.
That suggests both home and office environments have their benefits, which could be a good reason to have hybrid working rather than entirely one or the other. You will still need something to print things off at work, but not everyone needs to be there to do so every day.
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