Have you been hearing this too? Senior staff, long time individual contributors, newer employees – all saying they hate the mandatory return to work policy. They MUST be in the office 3 days/week. Pick any 3, just be there and do what they would have done at home so they can be AVAILABLE for collaboration. Then they go in their office/cubicle and work by themselves all day….say WHAT?

Are they annoyed? Yes. The team that jumped through hoops to move work home during the pandemic and made remote work successful, is not as excited about returning to the office as senior management is. Are they going to quit? Maybe. As leaders of your organizations, you need to retain your good employees and may I suggest this is not the smart way to do it.

I was reading Marc Emmer and Kathleen Quinn Votaw’s Vistage article titled The Hybrid Gap: How to Create the Ideal Work Environment. It has solid research and sound suggestions for how to address employee culture, work environment and more. I highly recommend you read it too.

Let’s not be lazy about how we structure collaboration moving forward. Younger employees and women have statistically significant differences in how they perceive hybrid work as compared to older men. Some activities are shown to be more effective in person. Let’s do those in person. Schedule actual collaboration activities on the in office days. Be thoughtful and structured. Ask them how they think new hire onboarding, collaboration days, planning days should go. Use the intelligence of the herd.

Schedule some fun, and people will show up. That is true even if you have been in office for all the pandemic. Use the summer weather to get the team outside together whether in a non-profit work day, a social or a work offsite. Change it up and engage more.

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