Is it now time for you to invite your work-from-home employees back into the office? 

With the coronavirus pandemic finally taking a backseat, you might be wondering if it’s time for your work-from-home employees to return to the office. While it might be a great time for them to return, do they want to? Let’s take a look at the benefits of returning to the office, and the benefits of staying remote.

Benefits of returning to the office

  • One of the biggest benefits of returning to the office is that social interactions foster happiness and empathy. Whilst advances in technology and communication are undoubtedly both important and fantastic, nothing can replicate real human connection.
  • The opportunity to integrate a work-life balance is another benefit. As most people have experienced with flexible working during the pandemic, it’s too easy to let the lines between working and home life blur, something that can negatively impact your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Having an ergonomic and professional working environment is something many people have missed out on whilst working remotely. Returning to the office ensures that everyone has a desk and a proper chair to work from, as well as a reduction in distractions.

Benefits of working from home

  • No wasted time commuting is a big incentive when it comes to working from home. Not only does this save fuel costs, but it also saves time, and the environment!
  • As can be seen above, whether working from home promotes or negates a work-life balance depends entirely on personal circumstance. Depending on the individual, many people find that working from home helps them to adopt a better balance between their working lives and their home lives.
  • Flexible working makes it easier for parents and employees with other responsibilities to juggle their home lives with their jobs. This has a positive impact on employee retention rates which not only benefits the employee but the company as a whole. 

Is now the time to invite the workforce back to the office?

When asked about their preferences on a LinkedIn poll, 9 out of 10 respondents said they prefer a half-at-home, half-office approach. Instead of focusing on returning to the office, it might be useful for employers to consider a hybrid approach to work, allowing employees to achieve the work-life balance so many of them appear to be craving.

Giving employees the option of hybrid working is one way to truly improve that much-desired work-life balance. Employees can support themselves and their loved ones to a greater extent than was previously possible with a hybrid office model. Apart from that, you could consult with corporate lawyers to draft a proper returning employees policy that strikes a balance between the physical and emotional well-being of the employees while keeping the company’s profits in mind. You can talk to your employees to find out where they are and what they need to succeed and accordingly frame the policies. Above all, cultivate a flexible mindset in order to meet the challenges and prepare for them ahead of time.

Although the majority of the population are now vaccinated and infection rates are dipping, COVID-19 is here to stay. A hybrid-approach would mean that fewer employees are in the office at a time, which makes rates of infection and social distancing easier to manage. This will give employees, particularly those who are vulnerable, peace of mind.

So, even though now is deemed as great a time as any for remote workers to be invited back into the office, hybrid working may be the way to go, letting the employees themselves make the decision of where they work. The negatives of office work are counteracted by the benefits of remote work and vice versa. In other words, with a hybrid work approach, you get the best of both worlds.

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Meredith Weisser

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