Working from home has been the new normal for so long that many doubted when the world’s workforce would return to office buildings. Even now, as companies start to restaff their offices, some employers see pushback. At the beginning of the pandemic, when work went remote, the infrastructure of the modern workforce wasn’t prepared, technologically or logistically. Most people had never experienced isolation up until COVID lockdowns, and it took a toll on the psyche of everyone. Over time, most have gotten accustomed to working from home, and the question arises if people want to go back into an office.
The Downside of Normal
The most prominent deterrent for employees to return to the office isn’t fear of getting sick. All the extra effort that goes into a traditional day at the office makes working from home a sweet deal. No one likes fighting rush hour traffic, and going back into the office means no more pajama Fridays. Those are a few obvious reasons why employees are hesitant to return to the office, but it goes beyond work attire. Despite all of the issues when companies transitioned to remote work, most have adjusted and developed new work patterns and habits. People have successfully adapted to working from home and have changed their lives significantly to accommodate the workstyle change.
How comfortable your employee is with their work environment is a direct influencer on their productivity. Not everyone has the most stable home life, so working from home could induce more stressors than necessary. In this case, working at the office might have provided those employees with uninterrupted time to work. Every employee’s home life is different, and sometimes it isn’t the most conducive to productivity. Focusing first on what works best for individual employees gives managers and executives insight into the lives of their workers. It will also help them feel valued and show that the company is dedicated to helping them produce their best work.
Evolving the Workplace
Returning to the office doesn’t have to be an all or none scenario. Most companies are now looking to incorporate both traditional and remote working environments to maximize productivity and reduce costs. Office spaces aren’t cheap and remote work has its benefits aside from health safety. The hybrid workspace allows employers to utilize remote working technology while also providing a neutral work environment. Mask and social distancing regulations mean that filling up an office space right away might not be the best idea. But making the workplace more welcoming and offering amenities will encourage employees to return to the office.
All employees may not be comfortable with returning to the office at first. Employers should be open and adaptable to allow their staff to produce the best work possible in the most productive environment. Whether that is from home or in an office space, having both options available is ideal.