Uh-oh — your boss wants you in the office 😬! Here's what to do.
Doesn’t it feel like yesterday when we were told we’d be working from home (WFH) for two weeks?
Well, you know how that story went: two turned into four weeks, which turned into six months, which turned into TWO years! For many of us, March 2022 marked two years of working from home during the pandemic. Where has the time gone? For me, it's been a period of questioning my own work routines (and beliefs), in some cases redesigning them, and now, feeling some ambivalence about changing them again.
Pew Research found that 64% of people who work from home have found it easier to maintain a work-life balance over the last two years. Pew also found that about the same number of workers (61%) choose to go into the office because they feel they are more productive there. Even newer data claims that a "3+2 schedule", in which three days are spent in the office, and two are remote, is ideal for workers.
Choose is the operative word here. The research makes it clear that people don’t necessarily want to work only from home or only at the office – they want the freedom to decide.
If your organization is pushing for a return to the office (RTO), you might feel like that freedom to choose what’s best for YOUR needs is being taken away from you.
How can you confidently advocate your needs? How can you hold on to having choices?
I have a few tips that can help you get through this transitional period. Today’s Quick Confidence is all about advocating for whatever acronym combination works best for YOU: WFH, RTO, or both!
Quick Confidence Tips to Choose How You Want to “Return to Work:”
Embodied: Voice your needs. Everything in life is negotiable. Yup, it’s true. Salary, working hours, working location and more. If you know that you’re more productive and happier with a home-based schedule, it’s more than worth it to have a conversation with your boss. Be prepared to whip out the facts – share how your performance or results will move forward uninterrupted. Prove to your boss with evidence that you’ve been just as – or more – productive at home. And if you can, show them how you’ll harness your remote status to help you to reach more people or create greater impact.
Interpersonal: Outline your methods of communication. Communication may be a fair concern when it comes to splitting up teams across homes and offices. Leaders wonder, “If half of the team is at home while half of the team is in the office, will everyone be able to communicate effectively?” I say, YES! Technology does so many wonderful things, and it works best when we use it strategically. Discuss with your team which platforms you’ll use, how you’ll utilize “away from desk” messages, and make sure everyone is aware of each other’s schedules. It might not even feel like your team is in different buildings when you can create some routines in communication!
Mindset: Be willing to compromise. Working from home full-time might be the goal, but a flex structure is better than in-office 5-days per week, right? Consider which days are the busiest or most essential for your team and offer to be in the office those days. Then go beyond black-and-white rules, and think about recommending some “gray area” too. I call these flex days. For example, maybe you can leave Thursdays and Fridays flexible. You’ll come in if needed, but you’ll plan to work from home.
I’m a firm believer that in most cases, there’s a way that employees and organizations can get their interests met. Remember, show them the “win-win” and use your results to blaze your trail. If you can prove to your organization that you’re equally (or more) productive with a flexible schedule, then they will have a hard time denying your request!
How do you feel about returning to the office? Are you looking forward to separating your work life from your home life? Are you dreading the thought of commuting and sitting in an office? Are you going to stick to leisurewear either way? Let me know!