Resolving the great WFH vs office debate

Written by Jo Owen CMgr CCMI Tuesday 30 January 2024
Ah, the great hybrid work battle. This management challenge isn't going away any time soon. Jo Owen CMgr CCMI thinks the answer lies in trusting your teams to find a tailored solution. Let your creativity flow!
Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock

The hybrid work revolution celebrates its fourth anniversary this month. Since the first lockdown started, working from home (WFH) has been transformed to standard operating procedure.

Inevitably, the revolution has led to a counter-revolution. Each side sees reality in completely different ways. Most workers may enjoy WFH and feel more productive there, especially if they do deep concentration work such as researching, writing or coding. But some managers prefer to see their workers in the office; they want teams to come in to collaborate better, to build networks of trust and to create a common culture. Curiously, both sides could be right. Home and office are good for different sorts of work.

Hybrid working is ultimately a leadership and management challenge

This means that hybrid working is ultimately a leadership and management challenge. Many firms have failed the challenge already. They have tried to mandate when people should be in the office, and some of the worst offenders have been the large tech firms. Instead of being in the vanguard of a new world, some tech firms are retreating to 19th century command and control.

In the short term, firms can win the battle to force staff back into the office with a combination of carrots and sticks. But it will be a short-term victory: staff will vote with their feet. Over time, the best talent will go to where they want to work. The firms which offer flexible, hybrid working will win the war for talent against the firms which enforce a rigid back-to-the-office policy.

Want to learn how to navigate the great hybrid work battle?


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