Remote Work May Not Be a Long-term Solution For Your Team
Reasons to consider having a flexible office policy.
Working from home has been a common business solution in the advent of COVID-19. When cities were first hit with stay-at-home orders, many companies moved their teams entirely to remote work. This was the fastest solution in the initial stages of the pandemic, when we were so uncertain about how COVID-19 would impact us as individuals and as a society. However, now that we are a few months in, we have more information on how COVID-19 is transmitted, what safety measures can be implemented to reduce the risk of exposure, and how to keep ourselves as safe as possible. There is no way to completely avoid the risk of getting COVID-19 but we are now better prepared, so long as we are following the safety measures put in place by the government and reputable health sources such as the WHO. Now, it may be time to consider moving some of your team back to the office. If your company does not have the means of maintaining a safe office space at the moment, there are other options. It can be quite overwhelming to conceptualize running an office right now, as well as maintaining safety and health procedures for COVID-19, and hiring staff to support your employees. This is especially hard if you are considering shifting only a portion of your employees back to working in an office space. Renting flexible private office space may be a viable solution.
Reasons to Return to the Office:
Firstly, it is important to discuss why returning to the office might be the best option for your team. Working from home is a solution for some, as it provides benefits such as schedule flexibility, more time with family, and not having to commute. It can, however, be quite daunting and stressful for others. With this in mind, companies should consider making a return-to-office an option for their employees. Having a flexible work policy takes all the pressure off of you to schedule your team. Allowing them to choose whether they wish to work from home, work in the office, or mix the two options gives your employees the autonomy to create their own schedules and manage their re-entry fears. It also ensures that, should they need it, there is a dedicated space for them to work in.
Creating an opt-in office option for everyone provides a solution for those that are struggling to work from home. With COVID-19 affecting all of us, some people are working from home with partners, children, family members, or roommates in their workspace. Some do not have a proper workspace at all and have always relied on having an office to be productive. As to be expected, many people are experiencing a loss of productivity at home, due to the distractions in their space and the difficulties of time management. Others are experiencing burnout, as they no longer have clear boundaries between their personal and professional lives.
A lot of employees are also experiencing a lack of accountability when working from home. It will eventually fall onto your shoulders, as their employer, to implement strong accountability procedures. Without regular face-to-face time with your employees, it is easy to lose track of what they are doing and how well they are doing it. You will need to create a strong evaluation system, performance indicators, and regular review points for all of your distributed teams. This is a large part of restructuring your company and it may not be a realistic option for you at this time. Losses in accountability and productivity may be two reasons why your team will not benefit from remote work for much longer.
Another reason to return to the office is to help maintain company culture. There are many aspects of company culture that are lost in remote work. Teams are losing the collaborative benefits that come with working together in one space. It is difficult to create time for brainstorming and casual discussion during a virtual meeting or through various communication applications. Exchanging ideas and getting regular feedback, which forms such a crucial part of work culture, is lost in remote work. Additionally, teams lose the small interactions with their coworkers that increase their sense of belonging.
There are also many risks that come with having an entirely remote team. There is the challenge of ensuring your company’s data is protected. Cybersecurity is an essential aspect to all companies, but with a remote team, employees are using unsecure public or home networks. It is possible that your team will not look into protecting their data on their own, which heightens your company’s risk of a breach. Corporations such as Google have actually banned programs like Zoom for security purposes. There is also the financial commitment of IT support, upgrades, and software purchases for a distributed team. If these are not commitments you are willing to look into, remote work may not be a long-term option for your team.
Flexible Workspace Options:
You do not have to opt into an expensive or traditional office space. If you are looking to make room for only a portion of your employees who would like to move back to the office, flexible workspaces provide many alternative options.
The Professional Centre provides flexible private offices that come with many benefits. Our model has private offices for one person, teams, and spaces for up to 100 employees. These private spaces come fully equipped with office amenities, supplies, direct fibre internet, and WiFi. Going with a flexible workspace, such as The Professional Centre, also comes with the benefits of fully equipped meeting rooms, collaboration zones, and business lounges. These spaces are perfect for those looking to shift a portion of their teams back to the office.
However, the space itself is not the only benefit. The Professional Centre’s model provides on-site support staff to fit your company’s needs. The offices have been fully adapted to COVID-19 safety regulations, with plexiglass installed in common areas and boardrooms, regulated key-card access to the space in order to control the amount of people who use it, and a signage system to direct foot traffic in order to implement physical distancing within the office. We have also made it a policy that everyone using the space must wear a mask in common areas. Renting out one of these spaces gives you the financial and lease flexibility you need during such an uncertain period. Our staff regularly clean any shared space and wipe down all surfaces during the day. Sanitation supplies have been provided throughout the floors to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible. These benefits take care of all of the office maintenance that you do not have time for right now.
With these benefits in mind, it may be time to look into providing a safe space for those employees who wish to return to the office. This option helps alleviate some of the re-entry fear that people have, as the safety measures and cleaning procedures put in place make for a safe work environment during this pandemic.
Though remote work was the immediate solution for businesses to the pandemic, we now have to think about options that work for everyone. Not all of your team members are benefitting from remote work and it may be time for some to return to the office. Your company may be losing some of the positive aspects and culture that come with working in one space together. If you value your team’s productivity and wish to minimise the risks of a distributed team, this is the time to rearrange your company’s structure.
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