Back to the Office?

As the vaccine becomes more widely distributed, many firms are setting the stage for their workforce to return to the office with varying degrees of flexibility. For those firms considering a less flexible work-from-home (WFH) position, I’m hearing rumblings from both employees and consultants that they don’t want to return to the office on a daily basis.

It’s surprising that some firms are taking a stronger stance on returning people to the office. After a year of positive feedback which included high worker productivity, better work-life balance, and broader access to a wider range of talent, it seemed that working remotely post-covid was a foregone conclusion. Now I’m not so sure.

A company’s policy on remote work will have ramifications on its ability to attract and retain talent. Microsoft surveyed more than 30,000 full-time and self-employed workers. The survey stated that “nearly three-quarters said they wanted flexible remote work options to continue and 46% said they were planning to move this year now that they could work remotely.”

Jared Spartaro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 said, “There are some companies that think, ‘We’re just going to back to how it was.’ However, the data does seem to indicate that they don’t understand what has happened over the last 12 months.”

In my opinion, having a restrictive WFH policy will shrink the available pool of talent especially to companies located in areas with difficult commutes. For some in-demand skill sets such as Cloud or DevOps, this shrinks an already small talent pool even further. Companies also run the risk of losing current staff to firms with more flexible WFH options.

Some things to consider when developing your WFH policy.