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A Post-Pandemic Quandary

The pandemic is over. For businesses, it is time to rebuild the culture, requiring return to the office. But employees resist the idea. What’s the right path forward? How does the issue affect competitiveness in hiring talent?

The way forward likely is a flexible hybrid model. Fortune 500 executives see the future of work as hybrid. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes in “success from anywhere”. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasizes the need for flexibility.

Research suggests that removing privileges triggers resistance and dissatisfaction: people prefer to avoid losses than acquire equivalent gains.

Employees who tasted the flexibility of remote work view a mandatory return to office as a loss of privilege.

Any workaround? Here is a strategy based on educational models: (1) Set clear expectations; (2) Provide logical consequences; (3) Allow privileges to be earned back, e.g. set clear productivity or performance metrics that, if met, allow employees the privilege of remote work.

Instead of removing a privilege, make it contingent on performance.

Would this hybrid approach preserve competitiveness in attracting new talent? A Gartner survey published in June 2021 shows 80% of employees expect to work remotely at least part time, and 47% will choose a job that allows them to work from home.

A flexible work model clearly attracts a wider pool of talent.

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