During Covid-19 and the government enforced lockdown, many companies made the switch to their employees working from home. With the first phases of Covid-19 beginning to be put in place in some areas, people have begun asking the question “How will this change the working environment?”
Will employees go back to working in an office just like they did before the lockdown? Will only certain personnel go back to in-office and the others continue to work remotely? While the answers to these questions will be individualized for each company, some common trends and thoughts are circulating in the business community.
Many companies in industries that conduct business mainly through the internet (finance, insurance, tech, etc.) have invested in resources that have enabled their employees to perform all of their job duties from home. Just last week Facebook announced the majority of their employees will be allowed to work from home through the end of 2020. After having invested in these resources, does it really make sense for these companies to go back to the way things were previously? Additionally, many companies have found that their employees are thriving in their new more flexible work-zone. Meeting on Zoom calls rather than having to commute to the office has been a huge positive for many. Some employees are also able to be more productive while at home without the distractions that come with the office environment. There are others, however, who are struggling while at home. With the majority of the nation’s schools and childcare closed indefinitely, employees who have children are now having to juggle their entire workload while also caring for their children. Some employees, especially extroverts, thrive in an office atmosphere and working collaboratively with a team, so being isolated has been detrimental to their performance. It is important to note that if your company does decide to go back to having your employees in-office, this will be a slow transition. Having your employees return in different stages, either by team or importance, will help to minimize exposure. It may take weeks to months, depending on your state’s/county’s specific regulations and the size of your company, before things are “back to normal.” There is no one “right” answer and no “obvious” choice, as this is a highly individualized decision. It is important for the leaders in each company to carefully weigh the pros and cons of both options, continued remote work or return to in-office work, and make the best choice for their employees.