The Return-to-Office Email
As vaccines have been properly implemented into our society and it has become safer to return to the workplace than it was in 2020, should every employee eventually receive the “return-to-office” email? It’s a world-wide debate and along with every other debate, several points have been argued and made.
While some companies have taken extreme measures to protect the physical health of their employees with expensive safety precautions like UV light emitting portals that disinfect people before they walk inside, other workplaces have opted out of in-person work entirely and some companies fall somewhere in the middle with logical guidelines and a plethora of personal choices granted for their employees.
Is in-office work really more productive?
It’s a question asked by many but the truth of the matter is, it just seems to depend. It depends on the individual, the work that is required by said individual, the overall process of the project and many other different factors. Several employees have proven to work more effectively from home, while others may have fallen short or realized that their job is just simply easier when they can physically be in-office. Some professionals have also argued that if we worked in the office before, it should be the goal that we return to normal.
The reality is that normalcy is a thing of the past, or at least the version of normalcy we were once accustomed to is. Workplaces have been dramatically transformed by the pandemic and considering the U.S. hasn’t experienced anything like this in recent history, it makes sense. Humans are built to adapt and they have. Working from home has been better for employees’ physical health, mental health and with the rising gas prices, their bank account. Not to mention the money saved on childcare for working parents. Which begs the question, if the work of an employee is being completed to the standard that is required, why should they have to return to the office?
For employers it’s also important for them to consider that many employees call in sick less often when working from home remains a viable option. In a survey conducted by OnePoll, two in three Americans say they feel less inclined to take time off for sore throats and stuffy noses when working from home. And 70% say they’ve worked while sick during the pandemic.
Several companies have adapted along with their employees and created room for compromise. Hybrid workplaces are becoming much more common. A hybrid schedule usually entails a weekly meeting and at least one day of in-office work per week. Employees appreciate the flexibility in schedules and respect for their overall well-being while employers are pleased that they don’t have to sacrifice the collaborations and camaraderie that comes with in-person work entirely.
Finding middle ground has become the ultimate goal amongst most companies who care about their employees. Expensive safety precautions were praised in the beginning and still are considered an admirable option, but with the discovery that many employees simply work better from home, it has become the employers duty to understand each of their employees individually. This is no longer a debate about physical health alone but a combination of physical health, mental health, financial situations, commute times and overall quality of life.