EAP Corner

Navigating the New Reality of Remote Jobs

Is going back to the office right for you? It may depend on the job you do or the company that you work for. The thought of going back to the office may be causing you anxiety or maybe you are excited to go back. Everyone working remotely has different feelings and opinions about working at home or going back to the office.

Before the pandemic, remote jobs were not as common. Many companies had never even considered it. With the widespread panic of Covid, companies had to become creative to keep the doors open. It worked because they found ways to set employees up to work at home. Communication with employees and teams were possible using technology for virtual meetings. Everyone started finding a rhythm that worked during Covid, adjusting as needed to make the best of the situation.

During the pandemic some companies found the employees were more productive from home and closed the office, saving on overhead. With worker shortages, they are able to recruit nationwide. Other companies have found that having some employees work remotely and some at the office is a good fit. Now as people are more comfortable about being around others, some employers are having employees in the office one or more days a week.

As employers are focusing on what is best for the company, it begins to get a bit tricky. From an online article in the Wall Street Journal, “Some 43% of 1,046 remote workers surveyed by insurer Prudential in March said they’d be nervous about their job security if they stayed home while others returned to in-person. Yet the data indicates many of us really don’t want to go back, at least not every day. Nearly nine out of 10 workers in the same survey said they want to work from home at least once a week after the pandemic subsides; one in three said they wouldn’t work for a company that forced them to be on-site full-time.” Do employers force the employees back and run the risk of losing a great employee who has adapted to working from home? With so many companies continuing with remote workers, there are more options for employees. From an online article from Bloomberg Wealth, “A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.”

As an employee you may have strong feelings about going back to the office or working remote. If you push to remain home, will it hinder your career? Paying attention to what the employer is doing will help you decide what is best for the position you are in. Are they selling off the real estate or incentivizing you with free lunches to work in the office?

With a new normal, what the employer needs and what the employees expect has changed. Gathering data by surveying employees to find concerns or innovative ideas can be helpful. Communication is always important. If possible, having honest conversations with each employee will definitely help sort through concerns that both parties have. Now may be the best time to create a flex work policy with the input of everyone in the company. It will help set the expectations for employees, but give them some of the flexibility they have had working from home. Finding the balance for your employees and company is possible if you are open to looking at work differently. No doubt the way we work has changed forever.

Works Cited
Feintzeig, Rachel (2021, May) Should you go back to the office? Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/back-to-the-office-orremote-work-from-home-11620407665.

Melin, Anders, Egkolfopoulou, Misyrlena (2021, June) Employees are quitting instead of giving up working from home. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-01/return-to-office-employees-are-quittinginstead-of-giving-up-work-from-home.



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