And the Debate Goes On – Office or WFH?

“I’m not ever going back to the office. I love working remotely!”

“I love having the flexibility to work from home or go into the office when I want to.”

“I still struggle with having to work from home when my spouse and children are there as well; I feel so unproductive and distracted.  Working in the office would be such a relief.”

Although these thoughts are commonly shared on social media platforms, a newly released survey from Chief Executive[1] found some workers really don’t want to be remote.  This is interesting, but not surprising.

Consider just a few of the results of this survey:

  • Some 61% of the remote workforce are craving ‘real’ human interactions with colleagues, and 52% miss a change of scenery.
  • Work-from-home productivity is down, with only 37% of the workforce feeling more productive at home than in the office today, compared to 48% who felt that way earlier in the pandemic.
  • The desire for remote work is also declining, with 33% of the workforce never wanting to work from home post-pandemic, as opposed to 28% in October 2020.

Virtual exhaustion and disenchantment continue to rise despite organizations’ willingness to provide options to its workforce.  It’s also no surprise that health and wellbeing is a top priority for workers; these perks are considered a must-have and are more important than a comfortable salary. 

The landscape of work continues to change and organizations are tasked with trying to keep up with competing priorities, both at the company level as well as through the employee experience: the war on talent is at an all-time high; flexible work schedules (“when” I work) are in demand; health and wellness programs are paramount for position consideration (“what” I get); work-from-home versus work-from-office productivity (“where” I work) continues to be a challenge; unemployment levels continue to be disconcerting, especially given that qualified candidates are near impossible to find, hire, and retain; and the list continues into the employee lifecycle from onboarding, team-building, succession planning, development programs, etc.

What is a Company to do?

  • Develop your Leaders. This must be first and foremost for ongoing success and employee retention. If your leaders are more concerned about leaving their own legacy, they are inadvertently sabotaging new leaders’ growth.  And that causes turnover.
  • Communicate and Embrace your Organization’s Values, Mission, and Vision. Unsure if your business is still on point with its mission, vision, values?  Take an employee survey to see where the gaps are between what is “said” and what is “seen” in tolerated behaviors.
  • Embrace Change. Stop implementing initiatives, which is just checking a box, and work with your employees to embrace change.  Seek their input, solutions, and ideas. They have more to offer than they are allowed to share.
  • Design Autonomy into Your Processes. Consider why you hired an employee?  To tell them what to do?  Consider why you have a team or department?  To tell them how to interact and collaborate?  I think not.  Autonomy drives innovation.  Innovation drives results.
  • Encourage Speed and Agility to Combat Uncertainty and Complexity. Along with autonomy, speed and agility must be present in your processes in order to quickly and accurately combat the unknowns and the difficulties.
  • Ensure You’re Measuring the Right KPI’s for Your Business. If you’re measuring the same things that you’ve been measuring for the last five or more years, think of new and innovative ways to look at the data that will provide the best outcomes for your employees and customers. The old way of doing things doesn’t work today.

The employee experience is more important than ever.  Whether offering remote or office work, identifying the real business needs and aligning the flexibility to the employees to achieve these needs will drive success.  Time and time again.  As Neil Murray stated in his Chief Executive survey article, “the forward-looking organizations will be those who acknowledge these new workforce expectations through an in-depth rethinking of their approach to working styles and the workplace”. 

So, what will it be?  Are you willing to go back to the way it’s always been done, or will your office be human-centered, providing the tools, resources, and flexible options that drive success?

My expertise is in organizational strategy.  I partner with company leaders to identify organizational challenges and provide bold strategies that generate long-term growth.  Ready to make the right change for your organization?  Let’s chat.


P.S.  Book a Complimentary Strategy Session so we can get you moving in the right direction; click on my Complimentary Strategy Session calendar link here and let’s book a time together so you can get started today!

P.P.S.  With over three decades of professional experience in corporate operations and executive human resources, I am a proven results-driven leader.  My expertise includes strategy, change management, talent management and organizational development, employee relations, and executive and leadership coaching.  I am a highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships across internal and external customer environments built with integrity, confidence, authenticity, and trust.



[1] New Study: Some Workers Really Don't Want To Be Remote ( August 20, 2021