What is the best for you?
I am curious about the struggles between back to work versus the continued push by many team members to work remotely. The other day a client was communicating how much he wanted his entire team back in the office five days a week (while his CEO is fine with their hybrid schedule). Apparently, he is not alone. The WSJ just published this article: Mondays are the new office fight.
Here are some stats*:
- On the Monday before Memorial Day, the office occupancy rate was at 45% of pre-pandemic levels,
- On the same Monday in 2022, the rate was 41% rate for those in the office
- On the Tuesday before Memorial Day this year, 58% went to their offices that day
We are still a long way from going back to pre-Covid levels. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are the biggest days in the office for hybrid offices, as evidenced by traffic patterns in many cities. Apparently there is also a movement afoot on social media, calling for “bare-minimum Mondays”… an easing in of the work week rather than jumping back to work after the weekend.
A company I work with is losing a really strong senior leader for the opposite reason. This leader wants to be around people all the time, just like in 2019, so he decided to leave this company with a hybrid work schedule and go back to the office five days a week. Another former client is fully remote and while she likes her co-workers, she said she is not engaged in the company and does not see staying there long. Could that be because she is fully remote?
What is the best situation for you and your company?
*According to according to Kastle Systems, which tracks security badge swipes into buildings across major U.S. cities.
“The real competitive advantage in any business is one word only, which is “people”.“
Worth The Share
Digging a bit deeper into the remote work world, as it exists today, I found two competing lists of the best remote companies to work for.
Forbes published the Top 30 Rankings from Flexjobs, and only included jobs that are fully remote, with no restrictions of city, state or region. They also talked about the growth of remote jobs in finance and marketing.
Indeed, the online search firm, published a very different list called 20 of the Best Remote Work Companies in 2023. On this list you’ll find several tech and blue-chip companies including Microsoft, Intuit, Meta, Johnson&Johnson, and SAP. Each company’s listing includes a Work Happiness Score and a Flexibility Score. If you are in the job market, and want to be fully remote, check them out.
If people really are our competitive advantage, and we are living in a world that is dealing with fully remote, hybrid and only in-office options, how do you reconcile that with yourself, your leadership team and your employees?
What about the manufacturing company where the plants are open 24/7 or the retailer who has stores that need to be staffed nights and weekends? What do those corporate offices do?
Leadership is about being calm and consistent, establishing a plan and inspiring others with your vision for the company. This yo-yo that many companies and teams are facing about remote work is a big challenge. Shall we go back full time? Shall we stay hybrid? Can we convince our teams to come back into the office on Mondays? Can I get that employee back in the office when I hired her to be fully remote?
IMHO, Put a stake in the ground and stick with it. “In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry” said Roger Staubach. Be consistent…and then build chemistry.
Have a fabulous July 4th Holiday,