Should we stay or should we go?

I was reading an article in the Harvard Business Review last week that in many companies, managers and employees disagree profoundly about key aspects of work-from-home, according to surveys they’ve conducted. For instance, managers believe that work-from-home reduces productivity while employees think it massively increases it.

 

So with these polar-opposite points of view, I wonder what is the trend for companies bringing back employees to the office? Are more companies bringing employees back to the office for good or are hybrid working models the way of the future?

Sure, it really does vary depending on the company, industry, and location.  Canada’s darling Shopify is a great case in point as they flip flop between investing in locations versus their fully remote workforce. Shopify has cancelled its plans to open a new main office in one of downtown Toronto’s most highly-anticipated forthcoming developments, The Well.

 

Here at our digital agency My Left Foot, we had a competitive edge before the pandemic when it came to our working model.  We saw the benefits of a flex model, having a physical location downtown in Toronto to meet, connect and collaborate but our leadership group also understood the value of leveraging technology to create flexibility for our team to work from home.

 

I’m writing this from my home office today. I’ve got my writing niche setup, diffuser on, chill 80’s rock (Guardians of the Galaxy playlist is my go-to) playing and hot coffee. For me this stimulates productivity. Yet when I have a tough problem to solve or a solution to plan out, a change in scenery keeps me focused and the collaboration with my colleagues helps me get to the answer in hours vs days of half thinking about the challenge while folding laundry and sourcing tile to get our kitchen reno wrapped up.

 

This model has carried our agency through the early days of start up back in 2019 and it has continued to be our way of working into 2023.   We have realized the benefits of remote working, such as cost savings, increased productivity, and employee satisfaction.

 

If you asked me in 2022, I would have said the hybrid model is the way of the future as companies look for a balance between the benefits of remote working and the importance of in-person collaboration and connection.

 

But come 2023 do all employers continue to see the value in this?

 

I’m not so sure.  Similar to how I see the economy buttoning down with rising interest rates and a looming recession I think we are going to see more companies return to what they “know” and do best. I keep reading in the news and hearing from my network that they are “going back”. Some are dismayed, others are looking forward to it.

 

What I don’t envy are the employees who left the city with lofty goals of working lake side, now staring down a 2 hour plus commute into the city.

 

So, I ask my peers, what is your current state? Do you see it changing? How do you feel about it? I would love to hear your thoughts. Tag us on our social channels (LI, IG or FB) or send us an email at [email protected].

 

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