While everyone is eager to put COVID-19 behind us, some changes brought on by the pandemic are likely here to stay. Many companies are considering whether fully remote work, necessary during the pandemic, might be a good idea even after things get back to normal. There are many factors to consider - answering the following questions can help determine whether going back to the office or working from home is best for your business.
- How was your business doing before the pandemic? Some companies require an office for different reasons including client visitation/presentations and necessary in-person collaboration. Having a physical office might not be as necessary for other companies. Reducing office footprint or shifting to an entirely virtual business model might help change the profitability metrics for smaller firms and push them into the black.
- How flexible can your workday be? As we learned during the pandemic, it can be difficult if not impossible to maintain the same in-person schedules, workflows and other norms in the at-home environment. If your business can accommodate flexible hours, potential internet disruption for meetings and often uncontrolled working conditions (ie, sudden barking dog(s)), the remote option may be more feasible.
- Is collaboration happening? Many have decried remote work as isolating but some studies have found that communication, relationships, and teamwork can actually improve under these conditions. Consider how effective at-home collaboration has been for your team as part of an analysis for remote or office-based work.
- How much control do you need over your employees? Some managers need (or even simply prefer) to check-in frequently with their employees and this can be harder to do remotely. Consider how hands-on the management style is in your company and whether it is more conducive to working in the office or at home.
- What do your employees think? The choice is ultimately yours and you should make a clear decision that you implement with confidence. However, it can be helpful to gauge employee opinion as one more data point in your decision-making process. Happy workers tend to be productive workers and this could be a key factor, especially if you are still on the fence.