Key takeaways

  • As the pandemic recedes, most businesses are requiring employees to return to offices on a full or partial basis
  • Work-from-home (WFH) has brought time, location and schedule flexibility resulting in better work-life balance
  • On the flip side, back to office (BTO) boosts teamwork, idea generation and learning which are key for innovation and resilience
  • Companies must find a happy medium between the work-life balance of remote working with positive impact of in-person interactions

The COVID workplace has come a full circle! In phase 1, we hoped that the pandemic and WFH were temporary; in phase 2, we accepted that it was here to stay and embraced remote working; and now, in phase 3, we return to the new normal of hybrid workplace. But the work paradigm – the where, how, and why people work – and work environments have changed irrevocably in the past two years. So, how do workers and organizations thrive in a hybrid workforce model with varying combinations of in-person, partial and fulltime work-from-home (WFH)?

Many workers are understandably reluctant to return to earlier work models. WFH afforded workers flexibility, better life-work balance while staying connected via technology. And the cost and time savings from not commuting sweetened the deal from both employers and employees. Yet, there were others who didn’t fare as well. Many experienced social isolation and fatigue from lack of personal contact, increased screen time and lessened collaboration.

The most compelling argument for getting workers back to office is that it boosts teamwork, idea generation and learning which are key for innovation and resilience. New hires especially benefit from in-person onboarding, peer networks and expertise. Most importantly, these interactions and exchanges become the foundation of shared values and a strong workplace culture.

One of the most interesting organizational insights in the past two years is that work productivity levels remained unaffected during the WFH pandemic period. Another benefit is the evolution of innovative technology and digital tools kept us connected and productive during the pandemic. While some jobs moved online, newer opportunities for collaboration surfaced. This clearly shows that there is a middle path which balances corporate efficiency with employee flexibility.

Senior leaders, whose careers are closely tied to in-office environments, are now at a unique pivot point to leverage current people and technology trends and create a new approach to retain and nurture talent while growing their organizations. We can get a win-win-win situation with a contented workforce, improved productivity, and sustained profitability.  

Call us today to learn how to maximize your hybrid workforce model!

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