They need you in the office but you like working from home. Now what?

March 28, 2022

Pictured: woman with her feet up on her desk at homeAt first, the idea of working from home made a lot of employees uncomfortable.

They worried about feeling isolated and about being distracted or unable to focus. They didn’t have their homes set up with a space to work and with the entire family home all the time, it probably felt like chaos.

Two years later, they’ve figured out how to make it work and have settled in. They’ve learned to like it!

And now, companies are making decisions around bringing their employees back into the office. They need to decide if they will continue to have employees work remotely, move to a hybrid model, or have everyone fully return to the office.

As they make this decision, companies are trying to balance the wants of their employees and the needs of their business. They need to be profitable and competitive with productive employees, and they also need to make sure their employees are happy.

There is no one simple answer. Every company has unique needs so the solution will be unique to them. And every job is different. Some require face-to-face interaction while others work perfectly well in a remote environment

What I want to focus on here is how employees are responding to the prospect of going back into the office.

This is what I’m hearing from my own clients:

  • I don’t want to commute. I’ve saved money by staying home and I don’t want the hassle with the traffic.
  • I like working in my sweatpants!
  • I’ve saved so much time by not having to get dressed and pulled together for work.
  • I don’t want to spend my money on new clothes for the office.
  • I like the flexibility that working from home gives me. Going to the office means I won’t be able to take a quick nap after lunch.
  • I do my exercises at lunch, and I won’t be able to do that if I go back to the office
  • I am more productive working from home.

I feel the need to point out that the last point above about productivity is the one that companies are going to be most interested in! Your productivity serves their business needs… but so does your happiness.

On the flip side, I do have some clients who have already gone back to their office. They’re happy to see their colleagues but they find it disruptive. They tell me they can’t get their work done.

It is to the benefit of the company that its employees see each other in less formal “watercooler” settings, and it’s to your benefit as well. These casual meetups are opportunities for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming sessions, spontaneous sharing of ideas, and for networking.

When we work remotely, those casual meet-ups with our colleagues don’t happen. Every interaction is planned. That means that both you and your company miss out.

As your call to return to the office looms, I invite you to think about this from your company’s perspective.

Remember, companies are in business to make money, be profitable, remain competitive, and grow. If they don’t do all these things, then you might not have a job to go back to the office for.

With all of this in mind, the question is: How can both your company’s needs and your wants be met?

You have your list of wants (and perhaps, a resistance to change when you’ve just finally settled in), and your company has business needs.

How can you use this information to create a solution where everyone benefits?

This is about incorporating your wants with the company’s needs. If you can think about things from their perspective, you may find a way to incorporate what you want so that it fits within their needs.

If this is of interest to you, I invite you to take the following steps.

  1. On a piece of paper, create two columns.
    - In the first column, write out all the things you want.
    - In the second column, write out how the company benefits from what you want.
  2. On another page, write out your accomplishments from the past year along with the results of those activities, especially in terms of how the company has benefited.
  3. Then, have a conversation with your manager. Let them know that you want to support them during this time of transition. Take the opportunity to share what you want, and frame it with a focus on how your wants benefit the company.

I’m hoping these steps will open up your perspective. What you want is important! But if they don’t serve the company then it may not be feasible, and it’s important that you get clear on this!

You are an integral part of your company’s success. They want to keep you!

Work towards a solution where everyone benefits; the company will be profitable, growing, and competitive and you will be happy as well.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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