The Optimum Work Environment for Your Business
COVID-19 accelerated how companies manage their workplace environment. The significant increase in demand for hybrid and remote work options is impacting companies’ ability to recruit, hire, and retain talent. Employers have to decide what is best for their company to gain the optimum work environment. Is remote working, in-office, or hybrid the most efficient method for working?
Business owners, who work in one or more of these workplace environments, weigh in on what works best for them, providing advice and experiences.
What is remote working exactly? “Remote working is defined as a flexible work arrangement whereby workers work in locations remote from their central offices or production facilities. The worker has no personal contact with co-workers there but can communicate with them using technology.”
Since COVID-19, remote working has increased drastically. According to Tsedal Neeley, “In a survey conducted in April 2020 by the Gartner group, 74% of 317 companies reported plans to indefinitely adopt more remote work post-COVID-19. Facebook, taking a gradual approach, expects to transition as much as half of its workforce to work from home within ten years.” The ripple effect continues to force employers to ask, “Is remote working the right move?”
Bill Tibbetts, the dean of the College of Business and Technology at North Central University said, “Since COVID-19 I have picked up an additional team that is fully remote.” His remote work policy approach is, “MBO, manage by objectives, which is a practice in management where essentially we are saying if you meet the objectives and that includes, did you meet the goals in the time you were given? If so, then I don’t care what time you do your work during the day.”
His perspective allows his employees the flexibility to work around the demands of life. Every company has different remote working policies depending on what the company does and needs from its employees.
Pros and Cons to Consider for Remote Working:
Long before Covid-19 and remote working was ever an option, everyone worked in-office at the physical location of their job. Eric Fortin, general manager at Northwestern Glass Fabrication Company, primarily had in-office employees because their shop workers needed to be at the warehouse. Post Covid-19, Fortin’s’ office staff now works two days a week at home and three days in the office. Though it would be possible for his in-office staff to go fully remote, he knew it wasn’t the company’s culture to do so, stating, “We need to be together for our company culture to work.”
Fortin explained that there were hiring challenges before Covid-19 and was having to use recruiters for office jobs. It was that difficult to find people. Offering a hybrid work environment option changed the game for Fortin as they have hired five people after having hybrid as an option.
It is quick and more efficient to communicate with co-workers when working at the physical location of your job. If you are working on a project with your team and you have a question, it is a lot faster to poke your head in the hallway, ask your question, and hear their response rather than emailing back and forth. In-office promotes comradery among co-workers and opens the floor to holding company events more frequently.
Neely Tamminga, CEO of Distill, said it best, “Having an office rental expense makes sure we wake up every morning and do the work that is needed too. There is accountability within a building expense.” However, it is important to add that some companies work better by requiring completely in-person work.
Pros and Cons of In-Office Working:
The final option for working in a post-pandemic world is hybrid. Sap states, “A hybrid workplace model mixes in-office and remote work to offer flexibility and support to employees.” As said above, Fortin experienced an increase in employee applications when they offered hybrid upfront.
He offers hybrid to employees, but it is a privilege they have to earn. Employees have to hit their productivity goals and quality of work, as well as, get through their training for 90-days. Then they can go hybrid but if they don’t perform their tasks well, they come back to the office full time. He makes Mondays and Fridays a requirement to be in-office to maintain the company’s culture and co-worker relationships. His hybrid/remote work policy includes one-on-one meetings that you must be engaged in, productivity numbers, and quality of work that must be met and to work within the hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fortin said, “I would say offering hybrid working has helped us with employees that have kids which allows them to work from home and take care of them. It has helped them be happier. They can work from home when they don’t feel well and have the option to work where it’s better for them.” Allowing employees to work where they feel best sets them up for success.
Pros and Cons for Hybrid Working:
Employers, what is the best option to achieve the optimum work environment for your business? Is remote working, in-office, or hybrid the most efficient method for working? Now it’s time to decide what is best for you.