The coronavirus pandemic changed a lot of things, and how companies operate is certainly one of them. While not every job can be done remotely, many employers with offices shifted to fully remote work for some or all of their employees. We’ve now been exposed to remote work and what that feels like in a way that many companies weren’t used to before.
One thing we noticed over the course of social distancing is some employers fully embracing remote work and their attitude toward it. Some companies are now thinking perhaps they don’t need an office at all. If remote work is working for their team, why not stick with it? Some business owners are so fully in support of remote work that they’re shaming other business owners for not wanting to go completely remote.
We certainly don’t support shaming other business owners for making a personal choice about their business, but we do support having open discussions about what the future of remote work looks like.
Finding the balance
We don’t have to operate in absolutes when it comes to remote work.
That’s not saying you can’t run a 100% virtual business. You can. But you don’t have to shortchange the culture you want to create either. Many people are saying, “Why would you spend money on rent? Everybody can just work from home.”
Well, it’s completely okay to want to have an environment where people come into the office and connect. Remote work is not for everyone. We’ve reached a point where we do have a remote work option, but that’s what it is: an option.
Right now schools are shut down and many people are at home. Some are comfortable working from home and have figured out how to balance it, while others haven’t, and that’s okay. As office buildings start to reopen, some employees may hesitate to return while others jump at the opportunity.
The challenge is figuring out a way to make it work for your company without sacrificing the culture. Employers shouldn’t feel bad about bringing people back to an office (with appropriate safety precautions in place) because they value in-person connections.
For most businesses, creating a policy that balances the option of remote work with in-office work is important. Not every employee wants to work from home on a daily basis. Some people miss the connections and small talk, while others need a space free from distractions at home. There is something to being able to communicate, connect, and focus during the day.
Talk it through with employees
It’s not a bad thing to have an office and have employees in that office every day while some employees work remotely a few days a week. We just need to figure out how to blend these two things.
Decision makers have to step outside of themselves and communicate through open conversations with their employees. Who worked better from home? Who wanted to be in the office? Don’t make a broad, sweeping, generalized policy based on your own experience with remote work. If you’re going to have some sort of remote work policy moving forward, people should be empowered to choose.
Some owners may well feel like with their workforce and business composition they can go remote. Others may not. And still others may opt for a hybrid model. Also keep in mind that a remote work policy also applies for periodic needs like a child with a fever who can’t go to school or if a spouse is recovering from surgery and needs someone around to help during the day.
Whatever route you choose, it’s important to have policies in place that can support you and your employees as you move forward.
Contact WhyHR today and find out how we can help your business adapt to changing times and figure out what’s next for remote work.