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Why you should return to office.


Many companies have asked workers to work from office 3, and even 4 days a week


There has been vocal resistance from many employees.


Those who have adjusted their lifestyles, prefer it, and are reluctant to take the strain and cost of commutes.


While not voiced publicly, there are also discussions in the C suite on the benefit of bringing large populations of workers back to the office vs. the cost to enable it.


Workers essential to the functioning of offices and shared facilities need to work on premises. Security, janitors, food services, and maintenance workers are tethered to the facility.


Who else will benefit from making the commute to an employer’s premises?


Who to call to work - Those who will benefit from in person interaction

Return to office has highest value where there is need for unstructured and spontaneous interaction among colleagues.


  • It could be for mentoring

  • It could be for brainstorming

  • It could be spur of the moment office cooler conversations about a work issue

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The employees who will get most value are:


  • Those who require grooming. The youngest workers and new hires who need to be trained to be productive and assimilate the ways their employer. Who will also have a need to talk to mentors spontaneously to address questions and concerns.


“Unsurprisingly, generation Z was self-reportedly the least likely to be as productive working virtually, with only 23 percent stating they were just as productive remotely as they were when working in an office. Baby Boomers were the most confident in their remote work, with 65 percent having claimed no change in productivity when working from home”.(1)


  • Experienced new hires, who have the required skills but still need to assimilate and build networks with peers to be productive.

  • Those who have institutional knowledge which needs to be passed on. Supervisors and the staff who participate actively in the grooming and assimilation of new hires.

  • Employees working on new processes, products, and ideas which require frequent and spontaneous interaction.


What’s in it for employees

  • For new hires and younger workers, the opportunity to get trained, learn new skills and become productive.

  • For experienced new hires, better assimilation and building networks which will enable success.

  • To those grooming and shaping them, a path to become supervisors and leaders of teams.

  • For those in innovation and new initiative teams, the opportunity to participate in something new and creative.

  • A faster track for promotions. A 2015 study conducted in China, by the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that while people working from home were 13% more productive, they were promoted at half the rate compared with their colleagues who worked from office. (2)


And for all employees, an opportunity to build professional and social networks with their colleagues.


What’s in it for the employer?

A reason most cited by employers for bringing employees to offices again is teaming and culture building.


  • More cohesive and better bonded teams.

  • In turn lower attrition and better employee retention

  • The extra productivity which engaged employees tend to deliver

  • Identification with the organization and loyalty


The other mentioned reason is that collocated employees are essential for innovation and creativity


  • Working in proximity facilitates unstructured discussions

  • These unstructured discussions are often the seeds of new ideas and innovation.


There is also pressure from local governments. They need workers back in offices and spending with local businesses, transportation and utilities which generate higher employment and tax revenue in their local areas.


Who to call to work – Those working with infrastructure or information only available in employer premises.


There are two other groups of workers whose nature of work requires that they work from employer premises.


The first are those who avail large investments in equipment or machinery which have been made in those premises. These investments are only available in employer facilities as a shared resource. High speed connectivity for traders, machinery for factory workers and labs for scientists are examples.


The second are the ones who perform work which requires high levels of security and confidentiality. It may not be possible or too costly to ensure the required security outside office facilities when working with sensitive legal documentation, intellectual property, or in intelligence agencies.


What’s in it for the worker

  • The opportunity to work on tasks enabled by large, shared investments. From factories through advanced labs.

  • The opportunity to do sensitive work available only in a secure environment. Think NSA, cybersurveillance, the legal system, work on cutting edge intellectual property.

  • The edge the shared investments offer in learnings, professional development, and success at work.


What’s in it for the employer

  • Get teams to work on the tasks for which the large investments in infrastructure, tools and technologies have been made.

  • In many cases, this may not even be optional. It’s the only way the business will run. A factory or a cyber surveillance business will run only with employees working from employer premises.


In closing

To work in offices, employees need to commute, and employers are required to provide facilities.


For either to do it, they need to see value in that effort and cost.


The benefit of co-locating workers is highest in tasks facilitating innovation, new processes, and initiatives where brainstorming and spontaneous conversations can be significant enablers.


It also has value when assimilating and grooming new workers, helping them learn the ways of their employer, and building internal networks and bonds.


And there are many areas of work where the investment required in infrastructure and tools is high and a shared resource available only in an employer facility.


Keep swinging!



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