When people choose to come into the office has fast become the hot topic of the last 18 months. During national lockdowns, the global workforce had unintentionally been handed the gift of choice enabling them to choose HOW they worked. It not only made people far more productive, but it became a key differentiator in what employees were looking for in their work, and careers.
Now that more people are returning to their office for the value of face-to-face collaboration, community, belonging, and well-being certain days have become more popular than others. An interesting insight claiming the attention of employers looking to understand employee booking habits, and how their spaces are being used.
Is Thursday the new Friday?
Bookending the working week at home is becoming a common trend amongst workers. With a quieter Monday, as well as Friday ‘many are commuting to their workplace during the “core” midweek days – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.’ Interestingly from Kadence data, as much as Tuesdays-Thursdays are the most popular days that people decide to go into the office (see figure 1), those that do choose to come into the office are a relatively small number compared with those overall (see figure 2).
A recent study in the Office of National Statistics showed almost 60% of the U.K workforce claimed to have improved well-being with hybrid working. Not only this but employers saw 42.6% reduced overheads alongside a mighty 40.8% in increased productivity due to this change.
Conclusion: Working part remote, and part in the office makes things better for companies as well as their people, and to do this successfully requires a tool that makes team and individual schedules visible so you can plan to be in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people, every time!
In-person vs. Heads-down
Really, there’s no contest here. The bottom line is finding what works for you and your team. Whether coming into the office on a quieter day so you can concentrate on your work in a different environment in many ways is just as appealing as doing that from home. Finding a rhythm for in-person team collaboration, or solo work whether virtual or face-to-face, in the office or at home is the key here.
In the data above, taken from WFH Research, Nicolas Bloom, an Economics professor at Stamford University found that face-to-face collaboration was the most popular reason to head back into the office. With ‘quiet’ being the least of the drivers to go into the office, what are the benefits to working from home when you need to?
Whilst many realize that working from home does come with its benefits, the true benefit here in adopting a flexible working policy, and allowing people to work whenever works best for them, is how it vastly improves individual productivity. (see slide 12 of Microsoft’s New Future of Work Report 2022) Although there is no right or wrong way of working, here are some quick pros and cons that might be helpful when it comes to working from home.
Pros to working from home:
- Through having to use telecommuting tools such as Slack, Zoom, Asana, and Microsoft Teams, you’ll learn to be excellent at communication and time management in a way that wouldn’t be that necessary in an office amongst your team.
- Workers are typically less distracted socially, and able to concentrate on important tasks in quieter environments. The surrounding office noise, as well as the temptation to socialize (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) with your teammates, might mean you get less focused work done.
- You’ll save on time and money. Allowing you to spend more time with family, and saving on the cost of commuting
Cons to working from home:
- Workers can sometimes find it hard to stop working and make clear distinctions between work time, and family/personal time. ‘With a shift to remote work and elimination of physical boundaries knowledge workers felt a sense of being ‘always-on’. Tools that help individuals disconnect after work can reduce stress, promote employee wellbeing, and reduce liability stemming from after-hour work’ (Williams 2018)
- Feeling disconnected from your team, and a huge helping of FOMO
- Creating deeper connections with management, and feeling undervalued, and unseen for your work efforts
It’s clear a balance is needed, and for workers to adopt hybrid working in the true sense of the word requires tools that make it work successfully.
Help your team make the best choices
Choice and autonomy are key differentiators that separate the companies that empower their people, and the companies that are continuing to trudge on in the old ways of working. Having said that, it’s just as important to establish frameworks that help guide your people to make the best choices without being controlling. We call this ‘coordinated scheduling’. Having too much choice sounds great in theory, yet when employees that need to focus are presented with too many endless options we step right back into a bedlam of friction that takes up too much thought time, and productivity. The secret here is to identify the moments that matter to be together and present your teams with the right choices with tools that empower them to do great work.
Teams choose to come into the office for many reasons but the evidence favors in-person collaboration – being connected to your people and a clear work-life balance. A critical mass of people flooding to go to the office does encourage others to attend for fear of missing out, typically during the middle of the week, catapulting what could quite easily be the new working model for generations to come. However for most, it’s flexible working, and working in a way that works best for you that always trumps who’s planning on going into the office, whichever day of the week that may be. A solution that makes this possible, with all the added benefits in between, is the one that will come out on top.
When do your teams go into the office and why?