'Now is the time for managers to engage in mindful discussions with their teams to determine what they most want and need'
Employers will want to be careful when it comes to back-to-the-office orders, judging by a recent survey by Robert Half.
One in three (33 per cent) employees currently working from home say that they will quit their job if forced to return to the workplace full time.
“After more than a year of uncertainty and pandemic-induced remote work, there is a growing desire among some business leaders to return to business as usual, including welcoming employees back to the office once it is considered safe,” says David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. “However, companies should be prepared for a potential disconnect between their ideal work structures and that of their employees.”
The hybrid approach
However, 51 per cent of workers say they prefer to work in a hybrid remote and office setup, compared to those who prefer a fully remote (30 per cent) or fully office-based (19 per cent) setup, according to the survey of 500 workers in Canada.
Workers say that a remote-only work arrangement brings challenges, including weaker co-worker relationships (39 per cent), fewer career advancement opportunities (21 per cent) and decreased productivity (16 per cent), finds Robert Half.
Employees mention the following as the top ways their company can support them in returning to workplace:
- freedom to set preferred office hours
- employer-paid commuting costs
- a personal, distraction-free workspace
- a relaxed dress code
- an employer-provided childcare
“As we reimagine the future of work, now is the time for managers to engage in mindful discussions with their teams to determine what they most want and need,” says King. “Establishing a return-to-work plan that prioritizes employee health and well-being and fosters a strong corporate culture can help bolster retention and recruitment efforts.”
Communication between employers and employees is important so employers can successfully support employees, says Sarah Mullins, founder and principal consultant at uptreeHR in Halifax.
PwC also shared tips to help employers with return-to-the-workplace planning:
- Develop a plan for employee tracking to help address and mitigate workplace illness.
- Model a phased return-to-workplace plan by site and type of job (not date).
- Consider using behavioural predictors to analyze health risk.
- Plan training on safety measures for in-facility returning workers.
- Focus on the well-being of workers.
- Understand employees’ needs by enhancing employee listening and aligning your policies.