In 2020, companies swiftly had to pivot to a virtual workspace. For some, this time was super difficult as work life balance seemed to shift drastically as well. Those who like having a separate work space didn’t enjoy working from home, but a large majority of office employees were able to quickly adjust to the new virtual office.

As the world re-opens, companies are wondering how to keep employees happy in a post-pandemic office space that isn’t virtual. Some employers have offered a hybrid work schedule, especially where social distancing is still required. However, other employers now require employees to come into the office.

As a sales recruiting firm, we’ve recently seen a high number of job seekers reaching out to our firm. As they receive notice that on a certain date they are required to go back to the office, these employees are looking for virtual jobs where they can continue working from home.

For companies demanding employees return to the office, you may face low retention and employee loyalty scores. However, we have some tips on retaining your employees and finding a balance with those who want to work from home.

Employee Retention Tips: Post-Pandemic Edition

During the pandemic, almost all businesses, large and small, were forced to pivot. It was a term we heard all too often, but the real question is how many companies made a “permanent pivot” to employees working from home?

Now that things are opening, many companies want to move back to in-office again, but other businesses have found more success and profitability by working from a virtual environment.

Is it possible that employees working from home is better?

The truth is that every business is different, and what works for your employee retention rates may not work at another business. If you value being able to talk and brainstorm to your employees in-person, then you probably want your teams to return to the office full-time.

However, you may want to consider surveying your employees and gauging how they feel about working in the office again, particularly if they have been able to be more productive while working from home.

A recent FlexJobs survey found that 65% of respondents want to work full-time from home in a post-pandemic world.

What would happen if 65% of your workforce left due to your company enforcing a strict work-in-office policy? That is the consequence that some industries are facing as employees learn that other companies are willing to go completely virtual in a post-pandemic job landscape.

Do Employees Need to Head Into the Office Again?

A recent CBS News article looked at how corporate America is trying to decide how to bring employees back. Microsoft employees were given the option to go back to their offices in Washington in March 2021. Wells Fargo employees headed back to the office in May, and Amazon employees working from home are expected to head back in July 2021.

Other companies have pushed off bringing back employees from their virtual offices until September for Google or October for Starbucks. As vaccinations pick up and Covid-19 infection rates go down, more employers are deciding to bring their employees back. However, one study found that two-thirds of those who like the option to work permanently from home wouldn’t go back even if the United States reached herd immunity.

In some cases, companies are using flex schedules to offer hybrid work from home schedules. This has helped many employees transition to partially working from the office again.

It’s important to recognize that working from home isn’t ideal for every employee. As many reports as there are of employees liking working from home, there are other studies that show working from home caused more distractions and less productivity.

So what should you do for your employees? How do you know if you’ll lose top talent just by requiring them to return to the office full-time?

Ways to Keep Top Talent Post-Pandemic

Working from home gives employees more flexibility, especially because they’re able to work when they feel more creative. The ideal work-life balance is what often causes employees to seek out remote workforces. If you don’t offer a flexible schedule, you may be forcing your top talent to apply for roles that offer the type of virtual and flexible environment they are looking for.

  • Talk to your employees one-on-one about how they feel about working from the office vs working from home
  • Survey your employees often, internal NPS is just as important as external NPS – find out what they really crave from the work environment and what they can do without
  • Update your employees regularly on new schedules and policies
  • Make sure it’s safe for employees to come back to the office
  • Create a phased approach to moving back into the office
  • Offer flex schedules for employees that demonstrate working from home is better for their work/life balance and productivity
  • Think about the needs and desires as a business. Do you need employees in the office? Look below for pros and cons
  • Thank employees and hold Zoom meetings to check in with them
  • Offer more support and training for online workspaces and virtual meetings

Organizations that really want to retain employees post-pandemic will consider what their employees want. After all, if working from home does offer benefits for your employee and doesn’t hold back their productivity, why force them back to the office full-time?

If it’s not necessary for certain employees, then offering a flex or hybrid schedule may be best. For some employees, it could be that they don’t realize how much easier it is to work at the office instead of dealing with distractions at home–until they head back in.

Employee Loyalty Score and Post-Pandemic Work Life Balance

One thing employees value more than ever before is a good work/life balance. It’s something that most companies try to include in their onboarding, but there are very few companies that actually understand what life is like for their employees.

Employee loyalty scores often fall dramatically when employees don’t consider the effects of policies on their top talent. If employees feel that virtual workspaces at home are better for them, then it would be difficult to adjust to a policy that doesn’t consider the advantages of working from home.

For example, the commute to an office in a poor location may take 2 to 4 hours per day driving in traffic. As a daily commute, this would be difficult for many reasons, which is why a flex schedule or a permanent work from home situation appeals to these employees.

By conducting regular employee surveys, you’ll learn more about what your employers want and make better compromises that can lead to higher retention in a post-pandemic workforce.

If your employees start to leave, not only will your company suffer from losing top talent, but they may also leave poor reviews citing the company’s inability to work with employees who found it more productive to work from home. Even if you eventually change your policy, these reviews may come back to haunt you when trying to make future hires.

Reasons Employees Like Working From Home

Even if your office building offers all kinds of perks and benefits for your employees, that may not keep every employee happy. Some of the reasons why employees like working remotely include:

  • Removing workplace distractions so they can get more work done
  • More comfortable at home, which allows them to be more creative
  • Eliminates the need for the daily commute, typically avoiding hours in traffic
  • Allows employees to create flexible work schedules and optimize their time

There are also some benefits to employers allowing employees to work remotely. For instance, some companies have found that it actually saves money to keep employees working from home.

Weighing Pros and Cons of Going Back to the Office

It’s important to weigh all of the options when thinking about employees returning to the office. You’ll want to link the benefits of working from home or not working from home with what your employees think. That’s why conducting employee surveys are crucial to understanding what would be best for your team.

Pros of Remote Employees

  • Higher productivity for many employees
  • Increases employee loyalty score and retention rates
  • Eliminates waiting for employees to commute to office
  • Saves money on office costs
  • Better work-life balance for employees
  • Healthier lifestyle for employees who like to job on their lunch break
  • Allows employees to work more autonomously

Cons of Remote Employees

  • Communication gaps since you can’t head to your co-worker’s office to get answers when they don’t reply to Slack
  • Harder to stay motivated since supervisors aren’t around the corner
  • Lack of social interaction leads to higher irritability
  • Potential added distractions of family members or roommates
  • Technology challenges when you have to use new apps for project management and communication tools like Zoom

Remote or flex work is probably the best way to work for many employees, but not all would agree. It’s up to you to gauge your organization and decide whether employees really can work most effectively from an office or from home.

Companies are Hiring Your Talent

Published On: June 22nd, 2021Categories: Sales Recruiting

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