What From Home?!
It’s been a year since we officially went in to the first pandemic lock down in T&T. Mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing have become the norm — with the exception of a few covidiots… no need to call names, you know who you are!
But there’s one thing that still divides us: the work from home debate.
Management is seemingly a lot more comfortable with employees in office but employees mostly feel like they can and should be trusted to deliver from home. So, who’s right?
Unfortunately, we both are.
Managers, quite rightly in some cases, know that not every member of the team has the discipline to manage their time responsibly, the drive to deliver the quality needed to keep clients happy, the ability to juggle the new demands for responsiveness or the tech savvy to actively participate in virtual meetings and presentations.
Employees, on the other hand, love the new, relaxed dress code, skipping the rush hour traffic jams and feel that they’re more productive in their home office settings.
So how do we find a compromise?
Questions for Employers
In the first instance, we should all admit that there’s no one solution and no absolutely right or wrong answer. What may work in one situation, might not work in another. And we need to be a lot more creative in searching for solutions that will make everyone happy — as impossible as that might seem at the outset.
As an employer, perhaps you can ask yourself a few questions…
Why do you need each particular employee in office? Are there strengths that you can’t take advantage of or weaknesses that you can’t control when they’re out of office?
How do you think returning to office will impact their productivity and morale? Are there measures you can put in place to make the transition easier?
Are you willing to have a conversation with the employee about your decision so you can factor in their opinions, concerns and suggestions?
Questions for Employees
Employees need to ask themselves a few hard questions, too…
Why do you really want to work from home? Do you have a solid plan for executing so that your absence isn’t putting a strain on the company work flow?
Over the past year, have you had more successes than challenges when working from home? Are these tangible enough to make a case to present to the boss?
Do you have an alternate plan or suggestion to offer to an employer who wants you to return or a legitimate plan for yourself if you’re adamant about remaining at home?
As we said, there’s not going to be one simple, straightforward solution but, if everybody’s willing to try, real, workable solutions might be just a conversation away.
Are you and your team in office, working from home or a mix of both? How is that working for you? Feel free to join the convo in the comments!