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It was headline news lately. Zoom, whose company name had become synonymous with work-from-home (WFH) routines, announced that this fall it would require many workers to return to the office at least two days per week. Once folks got over the chuckle of irony with this development, there was resonance. Workplace culture has taken it on the chin of late. Productivity paranoia is real, remote-only training and onboarding suffers, and innovation drops with fewer “weak ties” cultivated in our WFH routines.
Hybrid is the answer
Nearly three years past the start of the pandemic, the WFH winds may be shifting. Whereas the peak of the pandemic saw 61.5% of paid working days in the WFH category, 2023 has seen that figure drop to 28%. When surveyed about investments in 2023, 36% of leaders anticipated dedicating funds to onsite events and programs for employees. The same percentage planned to invest in collaboration spaces (lounge areas, meeting rooms, etc.), up from a mere 9% in 2022. With hybrid being the name of the game, companies will need to develop strategies such as “hot desking” (with plans that address unwelcomed “desk squatting”) and other office-sharing approaches if they hope to trim brick-and-mortar costs. But trade-offs must be considered: companies requiring zero in-office days in the last year grew their talent by 5.6% versus just 2.6% growth for those requiring five days per week onsite. Moral of this story: seek the happy hybrid medium.
“In order to grow, you must be able to let go.”
– Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin
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