It is becoming clear that the future of work for many will include some form of hybrid working rather than 100% working from home. HR teams, who have had a busy year as it is, will have to review contracts and T&Cs to consider if pay needs reviewed.
Managing a team where some are in the office and some remote is not impossible, but it will require a different set of management skills. The hybrid model will likely suit highly skilled, white-collar staff where tasks can be completed without losing productivity.
The most obvious comparison to this future state is part-time workers or people phasing back into work following maternity or paternity leave. The common complaint here is often that they feel left disconnected from the workplace, not just the office banter but also input into decision making.
As a manager, do you monitor or seek to control your team, or are you empowering them to be more productive? If you don’t know the answer, your comfort level working in a hybrid model will tell you quickly. Good employers who have worked hard to introduce attractive on-site benefits may find that they no longer matter as much as simply letting teams work from home as it would appear the very few people actually like their daily commute.
Anecdotal evidence from my own experience is that many friends and family who work in London are returning home to NI in the knowledge that they will get paid London wages but only have to be in the office 2/3 days a week. What the impact of this is in the long term if it is widespread for city-centre living we do not yet know.
Ultimately as people become more productive, leaders will become more demanding. The idea that working from home is somehow easier, I would suggest is a myth that will be dispelled quite soon. Offices will remain the central hub of activity for most businesses. Whilst most have enjoyed some benefit of working from home, most would recognise that it is important to remain connected to your place of work and, most importantly, the people you work with.
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