In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting government-imposed lockdowns worldwide, organisations were forced to think outside the box to maintain operations and simply remain in business.
Thousands of companies throughout the world have risen to the occasion, moving quickly to protect people and transition to a new way of working that even the most solid business-continuity plans had not foreseen.
But, after two years of working remotely, we’re ready to “return to normal” or “return to offices,” as the case may be.
People react differently to the return – some seem excited about it; others are nervous, anxious, or even hostile. Meanwhile, managers are pushing for a return to the office against the workers who do not want to give up remote working easily.
As a result, employers are faced with a quandary: is a wide-scale return to the workplace truly necessary?
This article will examine why employees resist returning to work and what businesses can do to alleviate the widespread opposition.
Why Returning to Work after Covid Is Not Going as Planned?
Pre-COVID-19, more than 60% of employees favoured working on-site; post-pandemic, only 37% want to return to offices, with the rest wishing to work more flexibly.
Let’s be honest, we all loved the moment when our employers sent us to work from home. In the beginning, when we did not know how long the pandemic would last, we were embracing the no-commute mornings, working in our pyjamas. The new way of working was a positive change, and we quickly got used to it.
And indeed, there was not much to not like about it. From spending more time with your family to petting your animals or even sneaking in a quick workout – none of this would have been possible under normal circumstances.
Therefore, when asked to return to our traditional workplaces, we can’t help but wonder how to escape it.
Employees Believe They Can Do Their Work From Home
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to working in the office. Being based in an office space does not suit everybody. The majority of roles can be perfectly fulfilled being off-site, and for this exact reason, people do not see any point in returning to the traditional office.
Questioning Office Life
After experiencing a better work-life balance, some employees are afraid to return to more stringent working conditions. In the office, you are set to do tasks at certain times, take lunch breaks as per your company’s policies, have small talk, and all that jazz.
According to Harvard Business Review, people are the happiest and the most productive when they have flexibility. Thus, forcing employees to return creates an opposite effect. Likewise, for people who are naturally more introverted, working from home was their safe haven, so the return could not be more daunting.
Practicality and the Childcare Flexibility
Being present on-site for many involves travelling long distances by car or using public transport. Work commute wastes time that people are not reimbursed for while costing a significant amount of money, especially in the light of soaring petrol prices.
Analogously, working parents can better manage childcare responsibilities, giving women, in particular, an opportunity to advance in their careers if they were previously unable to do so due to caring for children. However, with the return to offices, such employees may find it challenging to maintain their jobs.
What Can be Done to Overcome Employee Resistance?
Office culture is on the decline, and for this reason, companies that will insist on in-person work will struggle to recruit talents. Why? Because people are ready to give up their jobs if they cannot maintain work-from-home arrangements.
The Need to Change the Old System
As a business, you have every right to require your employees to work from the office. But should you really be that strict? The old way of doing things hamstrings many companies, and they simply cannot see the need to grow beyond the established norms.
One way to look at the issue is to try to reinvent new models of working, whether it would be hybrid, flexible with partial days in the office, or even entirely online. Whatever the route is taken, companies must break through suboptimal old practices. At the end of the day, employers should always seek to create a safe and enjoyable environment where the workforce can thrive and be productive.
Tapping Into the Technology
No, we are not talking about using more Zoom. We are talking about giving your employees what they want and what is operationally reasonable without compromising on their productivity and perfectly balancing synchronous and asynchronous communications.
At My G-Nation, we get both sides (employers and employees). With these two groups in mind, we designed a solution that takes you as close to the actual physical office experience as it is technologically possible. It is like having a brick-and-mortar office but without actually needing one.
Our solution keeps people, processes, and tasks in sync, so everybody is in the loop, ready to get on with their responsibilities. Why head back to the office if you can keep your employees happy while taking advantage to make the most of talent wherever it resides while also reducing HR costs and improving organisational performance.
Returning to the office sparks mixed feelings and, for many employers and employees, does not go according to plan. Organisations face their next big challenge, as they must look for ways to reimagine the role of traditional offices and consider going hybrid or fully remote.
Our software solution, My Digital Office, bridges the gap in an effort to unify all of the fragmented remote collaboration solutions into a single platform. It is your one-stop shop and the closest alternative to your traditional work environment so that you can transition to a more flexible work environment for good!
Schedule a Demo for our solution