Is Luring Workers Back to Offices a Strategic Move?

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Written by Suraj jaiswal

Is it really going to be in the favor of the company?

Google recently organized a private concert and partnered with an electric scooter company that would allow its US employees to use its scooters to freely commute to offices. Goldman Sachs has started offering free breakfast, lunch and other different snacks, along with free car rides to its offices. Havas has introduced an in-house kitchen where employees can make menu suggestions. 

Companies around the world want to see their employees back in the offices. Some are spending on amenities that will make the office or physical work culture seem attractive. Others believe the way to an employee’s heart is through food. And a bunch of companies are also offering lucrative additions to salaries. Whatever the way, the bottom line is that companies now want to see their employees back in offices. 

While some companies are trying to entice employees, many companies are simply rolling out orders with dire consequences. For instance, a recently leaked email from Tesla by Elon Musk reads, “Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of forty hours in the office per week. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.” 

One way or another, the majority of companies want to see their employees work the way they used to before the pandemic. 

This raises the question: “is it really a strategic move?”

Is it really going to be in your company’s favor? 

Let’s explore

ALSO READ: 5 Ways to Create a Winning Return-to-Office Strategy

Does Growth Really Hinge on “Being in the Office?”

Nobody imagined the entire workforce of the world working from home at the same time. But it did, and business continuity wasn’t interrupted. So the question to the answer is definitely “not yes.” 

Also, the answer to this question is a definite “no” for industries where the design of work is limited to the talents of the employee and a basic infrastructure. For instance, a customer support agent whose job is to cater to everyday complaints can be done from anywhere. WordPress owner Automattic allows its happiness engineers (another name for support agents) to work from home. Same goes for the rest of its workforce. 

At the same time, you can’t assemble a car by working from home – at least not in the nearest future. But the designers – who design the concept, or the developers that match its CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) with the real layout – can.

Why Is It Not a Strategic Move?

“Nobody’s going to commute an hour for a free lunch. But if you live within a reasonable distance, that free food might be the icing on the cake,” says Tony Guadagni, senior principal in Gartner HR. 

If he thinks this about employees working from home from the same city, imagine what would be his views for those that are working from natives far off the company’s headquarters?

Dedicated employees who work irrespective of their locations or working hours would find themselves in a huge dilemma. For some, perks might have zero effect, as they value flexibility more than anything. Plus, if you observe that such employees are working to their full strength and their managers/supervisors are happy with them, why force them all the way back to office and risk something that’s going so smoothly?

That being said, luring employees within the city is still correct, but forcing employees who are working out of town isn’t the least smartest thing to do. The fear of the pandemic still lingers, and many cities are seeing a rise in cases. Plus, there are other new viruses on the loose. It might be only a matter of time until the government declares another pandemic and you will have to reset the entire infrastructure once again – which might be a huge unwanted expenditure. On top of everything, the future is uncertain. Another worldwide event might happen where things might go back to working from home. A single model of work is simply a huge, unwanted risk in today’s unpredictable world.

What Is the Right, Strategic Move?

A strategic thing to do right now is to work with a hybrid model. Allow people to join office willingly, while not deny WHF either.

Rather than focusing on sticks and carrots, focus on creating a comfortable space that prevents your top talents from searching jobs elsewhere. 

Developing this attitude will help you save massively on unwanted infrastructure, time spent on conflict management, and several other areas while showcasing yourself as a great, caring brand.

Remember, not ‘carrots’ but your ‘culture’ is what keeps your company intact.

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