Employees are showing that they simply don’t want to go back to the office. But work can’t be slowed indefinitely. How can employers get their employees back — and make sure to retain them?
For employers that can, moving to a virtual or hybrid model is the best choice. For those who cannot, there may need to be a significant budget allocated to perks and incentives.
Moving to a Virtual/Hybrid Model
According to the Wall Street Journal, remote work may last for the next couple of years. COVID-19 isn’t going away, but rather, it’s generating different variants. While these variants aren’t more dangerous, they do spread faster.
Perhaps more importantly, employees have become used to remote work — and they aren’t giving it up without a fight.
“My prediction would be that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away.” – Bill Gates
Many companies have already created a loose remote infrastructure to keep in operation during the pandemic. But it’s going to become more important than ever that companies fine-tune and optimize their remote infrastructure — to keep their data secure and their employees efficient.
Some companies may have found that they really need face time and sit-down meetings. These companies can consider a hybrid model, under which employees only need to come in for part of the week. Hybrid models are generally more palatable to employees than completely virtual or completely in-person work.
Incentivizing In-Person Work
A significant number of employees aren’t going back to work because they can’t. They don’t have childcare and the school systems are up in the air. They may have moved farther away or even sold one of their cars during the pandemic — so the commute may be lengthier and more complex. They may have even moved into another state altogether out of necessity.
To encourage employees to continue to work in person, companies have to be very competitive. They will need to offer perks such as in-office childcare — and they may have to boost their salaries and other benefits. For employers, having employees in the office is rapidly becoming a luxury that has to be paid for.
Further, if only some employees need to be “in person,” the company can hire people specifically for in-person positions. There are always those who are eagerly waiting to go back to the office, and those who enjoy getting work done with an in-person team.
Some companies have found that remote work is perfect for them. But others have struggled. It’s up to your company to find the solutions that work best for you.
Many companies have found that a hybrid approach — supported by the right processes and the right technology — can be a happy compromise for both employer and employee. With such unprecedented changes in the workforce, it will take some time for things to fall where they will.