Some managers feel that there are limits to having staff rotate between working from home and working in the office. Their biggest concerns are having the ability to mentor employees and having sufficient oversight to control employees.
Yet, many employees and some managers feel that the myth of “at home is never as good” is being turned on its head as workers show that they are more focused, happy and as productive as ever at home. There is increased morale due to less commuting time and more time available to spend with families. At the end of the week, employees feel more energized and less depleted, than when they had to go in every day.
There is so much more data available to study the impact of this new normal in corporate America. The old saying of present behavior is a strong indicator of future behavior couldn’t be truer than it is now. If an employee worked hard, was focused and worked well with management before the pandemic, they will continue this path from home. If the employee walks down the hall to get feedback or consultation on an issue, they will probably think nothing of picking up the phone or scheduling a zoom call to speak to the manager about any work issue that comes up.
Employees who have their turn in the office will schedule social time after work hours or use a platform to have zoom calls with breakout rooms to stay connected to their team or department.
The hybrid workforce has added 1-3 hours to most peoples’ personal time by removing the commute from their daily routine of going into the office. When a person concludes their workday, they can go right to a child’s after-school activity, work out, or spend time with family.
Employees are also putting more priority on physical health, as they are less tired and stressed out than before. They can access their own food and go to the gym or take a walk at 5 pm - versus 7 pm when they had to travel. Many people say they move around more at home and can get outside more easily than they would when waiting for the elevators at work.
The in-office work structure has become outdated and needs to be reconfigured. Only time will tell how this new hybrid workforce will perform in the long-term. The preliminary data says that a lot can be done from home, people work just as hard, and everyone is happier for it.
Kay Gimmestad, LCSW-C is a business coach and clinician in New York City with 20 years of experience working in the profit and not for profit sectors of Human Resources, Health and Human Services. She has built a reputation for being highly skilled in facilitating behavior change while working with employees, both individually and in groups, on matters relating to performance management, substance abuse, crisis intervention, and stress/wellness.