The Great Flexible Working Debate
Updated: Feb 18, 2022
In this blog we look at both sides of the debate: the relative merits of office vs home working. We conclude that, with some thought and planning, we can have it all.
There is a lot of discussion in the mainstream and social media about how employers must adjust to a post Covid 19 working world. At C-Change we have advised many different businesses on implementing successful flexible working models, so, let's weigh up what we have learned over the years about the pros and cons of office vs home working.
No matter the size of your business, being in the office helps to encourage innovation and collaboration, and face to face time stimulates team trust, builds rapport, and reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. That being said, there are significant numbers of folks who don’t much like the social interaction that happens in an office. And being at home can provide much valued flexibility as people juggle work and domestic priorities, as well as reducing stress and the financial cost of the daily commute. Not to mention the massive, positive effect of reducing carbon emissions.
Strong arguments for and against then, and therein lies the rub. For some employees this new normal has freed the shackles of the daily commute and liberated hours in the day, reduced distractions, helping them slice through their workload. Others find it an isolating and lonely business altogether and miss the in-the-moment value of chatting in the office kitchen, bouncing ideas off colleagues.
As with most business challenges, finding the right solution is not easy. In our experience it is not a simple choice between two options: all at home, or all in the office. A hybrid approach offers the best of both worlds where innovation and collaboration thrive, and employees have some say in what works best for them.
We would advise that a successful hybrid approach needs to be led, top-down; owned and modelled by the leadership team, based on the needs of your business, your customers and your people.
The challenge for many leadership teams is grappling with such intangibles as cultural fit, behaviour and trust. Hybrid models are only truly successful where there is an element of choice for employees that avoids a one size fits all solution. And choice needs mutual trust between a team and their manager. Managers who have the capability, experience and skills to manage remote teams, balance productivity with their duty of care, while developing and coaching individuals, will reap the rewards in trust. The problem is that the Covid-19 pandemic threw many managers in at the deep end, without time to learn these critical skills which become all the more crucial when managing distributed teams.
So developing the right solution for your business, leading from the top and instilling trust at every level of your organisation is critical. If you can do this you can grasp a rare opportunity where both your business and your employees benefit.
How can we help you?
At C-Change Management Ltd, we are experts in taking an integrated approach to helping organisations implement successful, sustainable flexible working solutions. From developing the strategy, engaging teams in testing the solutions, and supporting managers in the day to day challenge of team effectiveness, you can be reassured you will be in experienced hands.
Do get in touch today and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.