As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the question arises: Is returning to the office full-time still necessary?
A leading reason employees are reluctant to return to the office full-time is their aversion to commuting. The pandemic revealed that many employees could perform their jobs without having to commute.
However, humans are social beings who generally thrive in group settings. We enjoy sharing ideas, building relationships, problem-solving, and engaging in spontaneous creative conversations, which often occur more effectively in person than remotely.
With over 20 years of experience working with businesses across various sectors, CollierBroderick understands the importance of striking the right balance between remote and in-person collaboration. We are ready to help businesses of all sizes navigate these new working arrangements and make the necessary adjustments.
So, how valuable is in-person collaboration in today’s hybrid and remote work environments?
Despite the shift to remote work, social bonds remain crucial for productivity. A Gallup meta-analysis of over 100,000 business units found that those with stronger social connections experienced higher performance and lower turnover rates. In-person social time had the most significant impact on mood, while videoconferencing had a weaker relationship.
Recent studies have shown that collaborative idea generation and creativity were diminished when people worked together virtually compared to in-person collaboration. Another study indicated that working from home increased the number of meetings and the time required to complete the same amount of work.
In a June 2022 study, Gallup explored various combinations of independent and collaborative work requirements among more than 16,000 U.S. full-time employees. The goal was to identify the ideal balance between remote and in-person work to maximise employee engagement and well-being while reducing burnout and job hunting.
The study found that 88% of remote-ready jobs involved a mix of independent and collaborative work. For these roles, two to three days in the office yielded the best outcomes for employee engagement and well-being while reducing burnout and job hunting. Full-time on-site employees did not report feeling more connected to their organisation’s culture.
In conclusion, for remote-ready jobs, a combination of in-person and remote work is most effective in maximising employee engagement. For jobs that require collaboration, two to three days of in-person work optimises engagement, while five days in the office lead to the lowest levels of engagement.
As experts in people development and employment challenges, CollierBroderick can assist organisations in adapting to these new working arrangements. Our extensive experience enables us to tailor solutions to each organisation’s unique needs.
Leaders should consider the following advice:
1. Embrace hybrid work for remote-ready roles and employees to maintain engagement and attract top talent.2. Establish standard on-site office days (e.g., Tuesday through Thursday) for maximum employee engagement.3. Train managers to hold one meaningful conversation per week with each employee, focusing on goals, customers, and recognition.
With CollierBroderick’s expertise, businesses can confidently navigate the challenges of today’s hybrid work environment, ensuring the optimal balance of remote and in-person collaboration for success.
Part of this article was adapted from Gallup.