The pandemic was an agent of change for many of our social structures. In deeply effected the way we organized, communicate, and connect. One change that has stayed with us is work from home. During the pandemic we learned that American businesses could operate with a remote workforce and that the American worker could be effective and productive in a remote environment. Today many businesses have brough their employees back into the office while others have remained open to the work form home model.

Many employees are not excited

For many employees, remote work is a perk that they are not eager to say goodbye to. A Mercer survey found that a whopping 56 percent of employees would consider switching jobs if work location flexibility was not an option. The flexibility offered by working from home appears to be hard to give up. Working from home does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. 52 percent of those surveyed said they preferred a hybrid model where they worked at the office around three days out of the week and two from home.

In a tight labor market employees have more choice and employers feel pressure to accommodate more employee’ requests to keep and attract the talent they need to grow. Many businesses have concluded that where people work doesn’t have to be binary. That there is a workable middle ground between working in the office and working from home.

3 steps to implementing a hybrid WFH model

So, if you want to take advantage of this time when a hybrid work model is a bonus, not a standard feature, this is what you can do:

  1. Find out if this is something your current employees want. Remote work isn’t for everyone, and your current team might hate the idea of working from home. Maybe your team loves being together and might not like the idea of having to work with remote colleagues. Set up a team meeting to talk about a hybrid work model or roll out an anonymous survey.
  2. If all signs point to ‘go’ after you talk to your team, it’s time to figure out how it’s going to work.

    Questions to answer:

    • How many days are people coming into the office?
    • Will the days be scheduled or ad-hoc?
    • Will you be changing the office layout to fit the new work model? This could mean more meeting rooms or shared desks.
    • Is everyone getting this perk? If not, how will you compensate the people whose jobs can’t be done from home?
    • How will you handle employees whose performance suffers or take advantage of the flexibility you give them?

    These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself. Talk to your leadership team to see what concerns they have. Keep the lines of communication open with your whole team. You might know what’s important to the executive team and management, but don’t leave out the rank-and-file employee perspective.

  3. Role this out as a pilot program. Changes will need to be made. Clearly communicate to your employees that changes will be coming. As you learn what works best for your organization, things will evolve. If you’re part of a large organization, roll it out on a small scale first.

One person’s problem is another’s opportunity. A lot of employees don’t want to give up the flexibility of working from home. You can take this as an opportunity to help your business. You can help employees achieve a better work-life balance, keep some employees that are thinking of leaving, and attract great employees from companies that can’t offer the same level of flexibility. To stay informed of employer and employee trends subscribe to our newsletter today.