Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I discovered an informative website recently called the Microsoft Work Trend Index. It’s focused on providing insights about hybrid work as well as work in general.
I know that some organizations are focused on inviting employees back to onsite work and trying to reduce the amount of remote and hybrid work available to employees. Every organization must make this decision for themselves. They know their employees and what their employees want. Everyone wants to work onsite? Great, give employees what they want. Employees want hybrid and company wants onsite? Well, decisions have to be made.
One of my takeaways from the Microsoft site was that organizations need to make the workplace worth the commute. By now, we’ve probably all seen at least one news headline about employees coming to the office to be on Zoom calls. And we know what employees are thinking – “I can do this at home. Why did I have to put on a suit, spend 30+ minutes in traffic with gas prices $4+/gallon to sit on Zoom calls?!” So, there’s something to be said about making the workplace worth the trip.
Let employees prioritize their work schedule. I believe this is where hybrid work and making the employee experience worthwhile meet. If an employee is working on a project that requires quiet and concentration, let them work on it where it makes sense for them. If they need to be in face-to-face meetings with clients, then they know where they need to be. Let employees create a work schedule that allows them to get the work done in the most effective and efficient means possible.
Give employees good technology. Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned the value of good technology. Make sure employees have it. Good technology can improve communications, streamline processes, and offer flexibility. Giving employees access to good technology is more than simply handing them a piece of equipment or a link to download some software. Organizations need to provide training on how to optimize their tech usage and how to keep data safe and secure.
Design a functional workspace. I believe it’s safe to say that the concept of work
is changing has changed. Some employees might tell you that foosball tables and nap pods are workplace essentials. But my guess is that employees want to come to a workplace that’s clean and ergonomically friendly. They want natural light. They want the ability to tune out their noisy coworkers and ambient noise. They might want snacks, since the inflation is impacting the cost of their lunch. Organizations need to get workspace basics right.
Tell employees why they’re there. Most importantly, employees want to know why they’re onsite. And the reason must be valid and believable. Don’t tell employees that they need to come onsite to do something that they’ve been doing remotely for 2+ years. Don’t tell employees that they need to work onsite for the “team” when the team didn’t really talk to them before. I think this is going to be really tough for organizations to explain. Give employees a heartfelt reason to be there.
Making the workplace worth the commute isn’t just a “let’s get employees onsite” move. It should be viewed as an employee engagement strategy. One of the attributes of employee engagement is that employees want to get up and come into work every day. Well, if organizations make the workplace worth the trip, they’re creating an environment where employees feel connected to the company. That’s good for everyone.27