Have you heard of “The Great Compromise?” Three years after the Covid pandemic forced many people to work from home, companies are now wrestling with the challenge of bringing employees back to the office. As someone uniquely situated in the middle between employers and job candidates, That’s Good sees both sides of this emerging issue. Employers are increasingly looking for people who will come to the office. Candidates, on the other hand, are seeking to work from home in a remote or hybrid position that combines at-home hours with in-office requirements.
As large companies like JPMorgan Chase, Amazon and Salesforce are looking at return-to-office policies, many of our local employer clients are considering those same decisions. Trends suggest that people are returning to their offices, at least part of the time. About 59% of full-time employees were on site full-time, according to data from May 2023 Work From Home Research. A study by the Pew Research Center indicates that about a third of all workers with jobs that can be done from home are staying home. This is down from 43% in January of 2022 and 55% in October of 2020.
Why do employees want to work from home?
During the That’s Good HR recruiting process, we often hear from potential employees who want remote work. The main reason? Multi-tasking. People like the freedom of being able to throw a load of laundry in during a mid-morning break. Remote work also offers flexibility when it comes to scheduling healthcare and other appointments during the workday.
Digital.com recently surveyed 1,000 remote workers to find out why they wanted to remain working from home. Some of the answers seemed a bit frivolous:
- 72% liked to be able to nap or exercise during the day.
- 73% wanted the option of watching TV while they work.
But the most important factor cited in the survey was caring for children and saving money and time on the commute. Granted, in our experience most work-from-home jobs are not a good fit for someone who has very small children or infants at home. But, it does provide options for parents whose older children wake up with a fever or need transportation to an after-school activity.
Many people also cite productivity as a factor for working from their basements instead of in an office full of people. Home doesn’t have distractions like in-person meetings where you spend the first 15 minutes waiting for the latecomers to show up. Workers aren’t tempted to stand around the office kitchen sharing personal stories while they enjoy their morning coffees. There are fewer distracting conversations to be overheard from the other cubicles. However, at least one study this month suggests that productivity drops when employees work from home full-time.
Why do employers want people in the office?
There is something to be said for working with your colleagues in person in an office setting. When Disney CEO Bib Iger called his employees back to the office earlier this year, he stressed its advantages:
“As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney. And in a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors,” Iger said in a memo.
It turns out that those break room conversations can be more than just idle chatter to begin a workday. Working together in an office brings what’s called a discovery advantage, where those informal conversations lead to new and provocative ideas. There is also an energy that’s created when people are together in person that cannot necessarily be duplicated over Zoom calls. Younger workers especially can miss out on the feedback and mentorship that can help build a successful career.
Where does that leave us?
At That’s Good HR, we appreciate the arguments for both sides of the remote work coin. This is why we encourage employers and candidates to consider what their views may cost them. In our experience, a candidate who requires a 100% remote position is less likely to be matched with open positions on our job board. Employers who are demanding that people work in the office five days a week may miss out on qualified candidates when they take this all-or-nothing stance.
At the end of the day, we want both sides to be realistic. Working from home can offer great flexibility for someone who has a long commute or wants to be available to drive the soccer carpool, but it also robs the employee of opportunities to converse and coordinate with their coworkers. Reconsider why you only want to do remote work – are you shortchanging yourself and limiting potential growth opportunities?
Employers who want to see their employees’ faces in the office are challenged to transform the office into the place everyone wants to be. It’s not about having treats in the break room, although that’s a nice perk. Today’s employers can make office hours worthwhile by having brainstorming sessions and activities designed to build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. At That’s Good HR, we’ve seen it happen. Let us know how we can help you build that environment within your office.
Of course, employers also may want to consider a hybrid work model, which allows employees to craft a flexible work schedule that includes remote hours and mandatory in-office requirements. The employment landscape is changing, and local employers and candidates will benefit from a staffing partner like That’s Good HR. Our motto is “The Match Matters,” and it’s one we take to heart. We believe our mission goes beyond reading resumes and sending a list of names to employers. Our staff invests the time in understanding what our employer clients and job candidates need. We’ll also offer guidance for navigating today’s evolving work environment. Trust your staffing and employment needs to someone with more than two decades’ experience working in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.
That’s Good HR is here to help job candidates and employers bridge the gap and find solutions that work for them. How can we work for you? Reach out now at https://thatsgoodhr.com/contact.