Some are even demanding workplace flexibility!
The pandemic has transformed the way we look at remote work. Many employers are recognizing the work is still getting done, while many employees are finding real value in the flexibility of working from home. Most employed Americans actually prefer their “new normal.” The thought of going back to the office, dealing with a commute, and losing the work/life balance they’ve grown accustomed to is unsettling – to say the least.
According to a survey done by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 70% of American workers prefer to work from home, either on a full or part-time basis, and 35% would consider a reduction in salary if given that flexibility. In the same study, nearly 20% would start looking for a remote position elsewhere if they weren’t given the option to work remotely, and 7% would quit their job outright.
For nearly 17 months, the tentative “return-to-work” date has been a moving target.
Many companies who intended to return in the fall of 2020 were met with flu season and spiked COVID rates. Their big comeback was postponed. Then came the vaccine roll-out. Restaurants are now seating indoors and most mask-mandates have been lifted. Life is beginning to feel a little more “pre-pandemic.” So, is it time to bring your employees back to the office?
Only you can answer that question. But whatever you decide, it is critical to make a well-informed decision and to set clear guidelines around your arrangement.
Conduct an employee survey
The threat of workers quitting before returning to the office is real. It’s important to weigh your options thoroughly if you don’t want to risk losing a good employee simply because you’re requiring them to come into the office – especially when they’ve proven to be successful working from home. If you’re at a crossroads on what to do, consider putting together an employee survey to garner input as you make your decision.
An employee survey will not only give you valuable insight and perspective, but also show your employees their voice matters. However, be cautious with your questions. For example, don’t ask if they want to be 100% remote if you know that will not be an option. Let your employees know that their opinions will be considered, but there are no guarantees.
Below are some ideas for what to include in your employee survey:
- Safety Issues: What is your vaccination status? Are you comfortable with current office protocols? How do you feel about interactions with clients and co-workers?
- Productivity: Is your specific role conducive to being at home? Have you been able to communicate effectively with coworkers and managers? Are you meeting your goals? Will your working hours be affected if you return to the office? What are the benefits and challenges of working from home vs. in the office?
- Home Office Space: Describe your home set-up. Are you set up for success? Are there any additional tools or equipment you need?
- Workplace Preferences: If given the choice, what is your ideal workplace scenario (fully remote, hybrid, or in-office?)
We know firsthand that this is not an easy decision. The most important thing you can do is keep communication open with your employees. An employee survey is a perfect way to do that. Your employees are your most valuable asset. Let them know you’re listening – you might be surprised with what you learn!
How are you handling your company’s return-to-work plan? Let us know by replying below!