Last week, the CEO of Morgan Stanley told NYC workers to be back in the office by September “or risk a different kind of conversation.”
As you can imagine, it ignited a heated debate on LinkedIn.
Other Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are taking similar approaches.
It begs the question – should companies require their team members to return to the office?
Are companies that stay remote at a disadvantage? Or is it vice versa?
There are people who feel strongly about it on both sides, and there are no easy answers.
If you’re uncertain what policy your company should adopt, here are a few pros and cons to consider in regards to remote work.
Pro: Employees Love Flexibility
One of the things employees appreciate most about remote work is the flexibility. Remote work allows people to relocate and live in areas that would otherwise be impossible, and it makes it way easier to work your own schedule.
It also allows you as an employer to hire candidates anywhere in the world, regardless of where your office is. Furthermore, it allows for much easier meetings.
Con: Communication is Worse
There’s no two ways about it. Video, voice, and text are poor substitutes for in-person communication. While video is the best case, you still lose a lot of body language and social cues that you would get from an in-person discussion. As a result, it’s harder to read people and you lose a lot of trust.
Furthermore, informal communication tends to fall by the wayside. As a result, personal relationships also suffer, which means teams feel less connected to the organization as a whole.
Pro: Time and Cost-Savings
Remote work is a win-win for everyone in terms of time and money. Employers save money on office space and utilities, while employees can skip lengthy commutes and the associated travel expenses.
Whether you get rid of your office entirely or just downsize, there’s a lot of money to be saved with hybrid or remote work policies.
Con: You Miss Being in Person with Customers
The communication and trust you get with in-person meetings are especially important for customer meetings. Meeting someone face-to-face is really the best option for providing a positive customer experience.
If possible, you can always prompt remote workers to have some in-person meetings with customers even if they’re not in the office all the time.
So What’s Best for YOUR Team?
At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s best for your organization and team.
One thing to keep in mind is that as a leader or an HR professional, you must weigh the benefits you see with remote or in-person work with what your team ultimately wants.
Even if you are 100% certain that in-person work would be ideal, if your team resents the idea, you will do massive damage to your employee experience and culture forcing a return to the office. The genie is already out of the bottle. Try as we might, we can’t just return to normal.
The challenge now is moving forward in the most productive way possible.
Regardless of whether you’re working hybrid, remote, or in-person, you have to understand your people to unlock their best performance.
Join us for a live leadership webinar on July 14th to learn more: