For the last 16 months or so, like many businesses, we have been working remotely. We found ourselves in the very fortunate position to do this and are aware that a lot of people couldn’t. Some businesses had to temporarily close, others (including healthcare practitioners, schools, supermarkets etc.) had to keep staff working in physical locations, often with an increased risk to their health. We were lucky our team could work wherever their laptops were. But now, with restrictions easing, we’re slowly heading back to how we worked before. Here’s what we’ve learned on returning to the office.
Respect The Work/Life Balance
For your team to do good work, especially in times of high stress, they need to be made consciously aware that they are not expected to work outside their usual contracted hours. Every business will ask staff to do overtime at different points, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted that people always will. And often, when people can disengage after work, their working hours are more productive.
We Need People
Personal face-to-face contact is valuable, helping with the conveyance of information, sentiment and more. It can help staff feel more connected to, and supported by, the rest of the team.
The Office Is Good, But Home Is Good Too
As much as it is great to have people back together for a couple of days per week (which is how we’re doing it at the moment), working from home has proven to be valuable to our team. It’s helped families manage things like childcare and other commitments.
Remote & Hybrid Work Will Always Be A Part Of Our Ops
We have some team members who are in different parts of the country, so they work remotely anyway. But remote work has become so normal for our team now that we know we will always be able to handle this, especially with the systems and processes we have in place. This also means that our employees who live near to our office can have the choice of hybrid working, if that’s what they want.
Productivity Is Variable
Some people are more productive at home, others are more productive in the office. All of our team are aware of what works best for them, so we’re happy to accommodate that. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you get the job done.
We can only speak from our own experience, which is that people are generally happy to work from the office as well as from home. There are major benefits to both, so we will retain the balance in future by giving our team the flexibility to choose where they work from, depending on what suits them. For us, hybrid working is here to stay.
This has also raised some more interesting questions, which we will discuss in another future blog. Namely:
If we can successfully help our staff to decide where they work, could this be expanded to include when they work? Or even how they work? What would this require?
If you have any thoughts on how we might do that, or any other comments about what we’ve learned on returning to the office, send us a message via our contact page!