Work from Home: Top 5 Reasons Companies Are Bringing Employees Back
by King White, on Nov 8, 2023 8:30:00 AM
The rapid rise of the remote work model, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, was initially hailed as the future of work and potentially the demise of the commercial real estate office market. Many thought WFH would be the new norm, offering unprecedented flexibility and benefits for employers and employees. However, as time has passed, several challenges have emerged.
Here we explore the top five reasons why work from home (WFH) isn’t delivering as expected, prompting companies like those identified in our recent blog on The Great Return: Employers Calling for Return to Office to reconsider the in-office model, which may be a glimmer of hope for the ailing commercial real estate office market.
1. Lack of Collaboration and Team Cohesion
The Challenge: Virtual meetings can’t quite replicate the dynamics of in-person brainstorming sessions or casual hallway conversations. Ideas often flow more freely when individuals are physically present, engaging in face-to-face interactions.
The Response: Companies are emphasizing the value of collaboration, urging teams to come back to an environment that naturally fosters teamwork, synergy and spontaneity. Therefore, many companies are re-envisioning their workplace and investing heavily in office space to accommodate this changing workplace.
2. Issues with Productivity and Accountability
The Challenge: While many workers have thrived in the WFH setup, others have struggled. Distractions at home, lack of a structured work environment, tech issues and employees often working other jobs simultaneously. For managers, it’s harder to oversee, guide and hold team members accountable.
The Response: By bringing workers back into the office, companies aim to re-establish a consistent work environment, making it easier to manage projects and maintain productivity.
3. Culture Erosion
The Challenge: Company culture, a crucial element in employee satisfaction and company identity, is hard to maintain in a fully remote setup. Onboarding new employees virtually doesn’t offer them the genuine feel of the company’s ethos and environment.
The Response: To revive and maintain a strong company culture, businesses emphasize the importance of shared physical spaces, rituals and in-person events.
4. Tech and Security Concerns
The Challenge: A dispersed workforce relies heavily on technology. This dependence can lead to increased tech costs, connectivity issues and, more critically, security vulnerabilities. Call centers are good examples of operations with lower-level employees impacted by tech issues and security risks. Home networks aren’t always as secure as corporate ones, posing potential risks.
The Response: Centralizing operations in the office allows companies to manage their tech infrastructure more effectively and uphold stringent cybersecurity measures.
5. Mental Health and Well-being
The Challenge: Ironically, while WFH promised better work-life balance, many employees have reported feelings of isolation, burnout and an inability to “switch off” from work. The boundaries between professional and personal lives have blurred for many.
The Response: Companies recognize the importance of employee well-being. By fostering a collective work environment, they aim to provide a clear work-life delineation and opportunities for social interaction.
While the WFH model offers undeniable advantages, it’s clear that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t apply. As companies navigate the post-pandemic world, many have concluded that a balanced, hybrid model might be the best way forward. This approach blends the flexibility of remote work with the collaborative benefits of the traditional office. Whatever the future holds, the key will be adaptability and a keen understanding of both the needs of the business and the employee.