Businesswoman hands working in Stacks of paper files for searching and checking unfinished document achieves on folders papers at busy work desk office

The fight for Work-from-Home privileges vs. Return-to-Office (RTO) mandates continues to rage and ravage the employment landscape.

Workers are weighing the pros and cons of taking more pay to go into an office full time or in a hybrid flex model or find a way to balance the loss of income with the reduction of costs associated with being in the office every day.

Increasingly, employees are resisting the request to RTO and biding their borrowed time, at home, working to find jobs that allow them to continue being home, at work. Employers, perplexed by this obstinate stance, are upping the ante by leveraging the FUD of economic downturn, recession, and the looming potential government shutdown (yes, again) to drive workers back into the confines of the professional office building.

Perhaps each side of the argument is missing the bigger picture. Since the pandemic, people are stepping back to reevaluate their lives and asking bigger questions of themselves, their inner circlec, significant others, and yes, even of their professions. Why am I doing this? Is this situation right for me? Is this person (people) good to me or for me?

People started realizing that we work to live and should no longer be living to work. Employees are coming to terms with the financial, well-being, and time-management benefits of working remotely.  Imagine reducing your commute by 60-90 minutes per day, along with an uptick of time availability for working out, meditative reflection, and reduced stress and still getting as much or more done as you do in a corporate setting.

Why then are employers so resistant to the remote work culture? Change. Executives and senior leaders were raised in a culture of collaborative communities inside the four walls of a corporate office and many struggle to get out of that loop.

Employees are no longer willing or interested in sacrificing their personal time, health, or passions to work 80+ hours a week in the confines of a steel and glass box. Is there room for compromise? Yes.

There is still a need for offices, but employers need to revamp and renovate them to meet those requirements.

Training, volunteering opportunities, strategic planning, and yes, of course, team building are all good reasons to be in the office. Strategic planning and large-scale, complex problem-solving get great results when done in person.

Ned to make office days more attractive to employees? Cater a lunch or have a potluck for the “office day” events and arrange for childcare or child activities on campus or break at reasonable afternoon hours so employees can pick up their children from school.

Consider office time-sharing or co-officing with other compatible organizations so that the costs can be shared and the space used consistently and efficiently. Too big to share? Reconsider your space needs and cut back on the number of floors or facilities your organization needs. Perhaps it’s time to downsize the space or sublet some of it to an up-and-coming company that needs it.

Bottom line is employees want the flexibility to get a life while having a career.  One does not have to suffer at the hand of the other. Employees and employers working in concert can come to a reasonable compromise so everyone gets the most beneficial arrangement possible.

Regardless of your position, don’t live to work. Remember, if you leave tomorrow, your professional shoes will eventually be filled by someone, but in your personal life, no one call fill those Hush Puppies.

Live well and work smart!
Coach Mia


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