Where people work best is a hotly debated topic today, but there’s an aspect of the issue that is often left out of conversations. Across the industry, across organizations, and even across individual departments, people have incredibly diverse experiences with remote working.
Failing to recognize these experiences can put organizations at risk of excluding workers and seeing attrition during a tight labor market.
On one side of the spectrum, you have people who saw remote work as a liberation. Maybe they had bad commutes, a lack of autonomy, or just love working out of the comfort of their own home.
And on the other end you have the people who suffered with the isolation of remote working. They may have been living in urban apartments and didn’t have the space for a home office, or they were starting their careers and felt cut off from opportunities to build relationships outside of their direct supervisors. Or experienced workers who appreciated the divide between work and home as a way to focus on responsibilities that competed when that barrier was lifted. And those with highly collaborative workloads were often frustrated losing face-to-face interactions.
And in the middle, there is a broad spectrum of experiences that were better or worse with remote working in different ways.
It’s telling that in a major workplace study released this year, both the #2 challenge of remote work and the #2 benefit of remote work were “productivity.”
I can speak to personal experience on this issue. When the pandemic happened, my wife and I were living in an apartment that really worked for us in a great location. No extra room, but we didn’t need it because we spent so much time out of the home. But when the lockdown happened and my wife’s nursing courses went online and I transitioned to remote working, we suddenly had two home offices without even space for one. While everyone on LinkedIn was celebrating their new freedom, remote work was a major pain point for us.
When talking to your peers, you may end up hearing experiences that closely match your own. But when making workplace strategy, whether it’s office design decisions or setting policy around where people will work, it’s important to take a step back and really understand how you can best support your people. And surveys show that an overwhelming majority of people want to work in the office at least part of the week.
Learning how your employees work best, both in the office and at home, can help you deliver employee experiences that support your people and help them do their best. And this is the key to attracting, engaging, and retaining the best of the best employees even in today’s tight labor market.
To understand more about how to gain a better understanding of your workforce and deliver better working experiences, as well as how remote working can be improved and how many of the benefits of remote working can be brought into the office, check out our whitepaper A Study of Credit Union Workplaces and the Future of Work.
And next month we’re announcing a major research project into the impact that workplaces have on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Download our whitepaper and we’ll put you on the list to be notified as soon as we can release more details!