Because we’re worth it
Office-based businesses are turning their thoughts to how – and whether – to bring people back to their desks.
Management teams across the country acknowledge that people’s productivity at home has been higher than they would ever have thought possible throughout the pandemic. Bosses had no option but to trust their people to do their job without close supervision. And there’s no doubt that this trust has been repaid, with many employees embracing their improved work/life balance.
But some organisations are feeling the need to take back control and say they want their staff back in the office. Their monolithic, inflexible structures mean they think that employees should be in the office in order to work effectively. And some have hinted that those who want to continue to work at home may have to take a salary cut, saying that the lack of commuting costs means that they have effectively had a pay rise, and that staying at home is unfair on those who return.
Decisions to force people back into the office with no good reason are more about command and control.Cliff Ettridge
That’s not how we see it at The Team. We trust our people to do their jobs wherever they are: they’ve done great work throughout the pandemic, working closely with our clients to deliver new brands, campaigns and strategic content in new ways and at speed.
Our office is open but there’s no pressure on presenteeism. Organically, the way we use our physical location has changed: no longer do we turn up every day at 9 and leave at 5.30. Now we choose to use our Team space in different ways. Do we want to be together and work through a project or issue, using our physical connection to spark different – and often unforeseen – creative ideas? Do we want to get our heads down in peace and quiet and crack on? Or do we just want to connect in person and feel the joy of being part of a great team?
Director Cliff Ettridge says: “We pay people to do great work. Whether they are doing that in an office space, a co-working space or at home makes no difference to me. It’s patently clear that, to do the best work possible for our customers – and to hire the best possible talent – we need a blend.
“Decisions to force people back into the office with no good reason are more about command and control. We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to address the industrialised approach to work that we have forced upon ourselves. This should not be seen as an opportunity to cut costs but instead an opportunity to improve lives and productivity.
“It’s time leaders stopped treating this debate like an either/or and saw it as an opportunity.”
It’s simply not relevant to cite lower commuting costs as a reason to differentiate the salaries of those who are in the office from those who aren’t. When taking on an employee in the old world, did they ask how far their commute was? How much they had to spend on commuting? Did they offer to increase their salary to compensate? This was never a factor before the pandemic, so why should they be now?
82% of managers would not pay their remote workers less than in-office workers.Management Today
With increasing skills shortages across many sectors of the economy, organisations are already finding that the best people are making their choice of employer based on many more factors than nice coffee in a fancy office and an easy commute.
The way we’ve been working – and our expectations of how we want to continue to balance our business and home lives – has fundamentally shifted away from spending every day in old-fashioned offices. Trust has been built: employers trust their people to do their jobs away from the all-seeing eye. And employees trust their employer to provide the tools and support – and trust – to do their job wherever they are.
Trust, when broken, isn’t easy to repair. But those companies that continue to trust their people, offering flexibility and support will continue to receive those same qualities back from their employees.