CEOs of major businesses are dealing with a dilemma post Covid. To call their employees back to office or not or go for a hybrid model.
Tesla’s Elon Musk has made it mandatory to work from the office. While Indian tech companies such as Infosys, HCL and TCS are following a hybrid model.
There also are companies that are totally offering remote work.
Infact, the Netherlands has proposed to make WFH a legal right.
Work from home came into existence due to Covid and now for many, it has become the new normal. And they want to continue even when Covid is over.
But, is that the right thing to do?
Well, that’s debatable. And every organization has to take its own call.
Last week, Jungleworks decided to shift completely to work from office for all the employees from the coming month. And here’s how it went.
Explosive town hall
After a long time, we had our live town hall session with CEO Samar Singla where it was announced to the employees that they will have to come to the office.
An exception was made for employees that are new parents or have children below the age of 10 years.
For the uninitiated, Town Hall is an internal event where the employer and employees engage. The CEO interacts with the employees and there is Q&A.
There were a lot of doubts as to why this decision was taken and Samar had the following reasons. You can also watch a discussion on this in this video.
Where there is choice, there is confusion
“When we used to work as an employee, for us, going to work meant going to office, no matter where we stayed,”says Samar.
Back then, there were no options, hence, there was more clarity.
Samar said that giving a lot of options often confuses people and that is what he personally experienced.
Many employees were getting confused as to where they should be, in office or at home.
While some wanted to be in office at some point of time, they could not make a decision in the absence of others.
Meetings were becoming a mess as it wasn’t clear who was attending from where. And all this led to lack of productivity and concentration.
Tough for new beginners
For a new person entering the organization, it becomes all the more necessary. It is the best time to learn new things in the presence of new people and in a new environment. Working online doesn’t really support that.
I talked to a new joinee regarding this and she had the same thoughts.
Jahnavi Arora, an intern with JungleWorks feels apart from making her more disciplined, working from office has helped her connect better with her team.
According to her, online, it takes much longer to figure out the workflow, what others are doing and the basic functioning of an organization than it takes offline.
Humans are social animals
It is an established fact and more and more organizations feel that offline workplaces are must in order for employees to communicate, connect and collaborate.
Samar feels that it is not about if work can be done remotely or not. Everything can be done and is even being done.
But, humans are social animals and for their growth, it is important to meet as they also learn by imitating.
“Since Covid came into picture, people said, universities will be dead. But, they are back, why are people not ready to study remotely? Why is so much business travel happening?
It is not just revenge travel, but I personally believe that it is tougher to do business without meeting and greeting.”
Don’t know when to stop
If you remember, when work from home had just started, many employees were stuck in the cycle of working non-stop. Some started at 7am and worked till 11pm.
They did not know when to start and when to stop which led to a lot of burn-outs. And coming to the office helps with that too.
An employee is aware of his fixed working hours and he can plan the rest of his time for other activities. It lends him breathing space which increases his overall productivity.
Bad for Mental Health
Mental health is increasingly becoming an issue for professionals. And virtual working is not helping that.
In the office, there are coffee breaks, gossiping sessions and motivational talks. Basically, there is a lot of socializing which gives a breather to your mind from work and your laptop.
You meet people in real life and that appeals to your human side. While there will always be counter arguments to it. Many employees feel that it leads to wastage of time.
But, experts say that in-between conversations are great for your confidence and mental health.
Samar quotes, “Nobody likes to get back to school after vacations but some of the best memories we have are of school days and not vacations.
It is always going to be tough for people and many will resist it, but I feel I need to do the parenting over here.
And hopefully, people will find it useful in the longer run. If you don’t grind, you don’t grow.”
Well, let us know your thoughts on this and which option CEOs should go for. We would love to know your experiences.
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