As most companies around the world increasingly require their employees to return to the office, experts say hybrid working is the best long-term solution.
Several companies, including Google, Amazon, Disney, and Starbucks, have tightened office rules recently. Elon Musk has even said that remote working is “morally wrong”.
However, experts say that forcing employees to come back to the office will only lead to backlash and erosion. Instead, companies should offer hybrid work arrangements that allow employees to work from home on some days and in the office on other days.
This is because employees have different preferences for how they want to work. Some people prefer the social interaction and collaboration that comes with working in an office, while others prefer the flexibility and autonomy of working from home.
A hybrid work arrangement allows employees to choose the option that works best for them. This will increase employee satisfaction and productivity and also help companies attract and retain top talent.
“Companies need to be empathetic when telling employees about their RTO (return to office) plans,” says leadership and communications expert Deborah Grayson Riegel. “They need to understand that for many people, returning to the office is a loss. They are losing the flexibility and autonomy they’ve gained over the past two years. They’re also losing the social connections they’ve come to rely on.”
“Companies must also be prepared to adapt their RTO plans as needed,” says Milena Berry, co-founder and CEO of diversity recruiting and retention platform PowerToFly. “The future of work is uncertain, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Companies need to be willing to listen to their employees and make changes as needed.”
Backlash against RTO mandates is on the rise. A recent survey found that 60% of employees would consider leaving their jobs if they were required to return to the office full-time.
Companies that are serious about retaining top talent need to offer hybrid work arrangements. It is the best way to meet the needs of the employees and ensure that they are productive and satisfied.