Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the corporate water…

Updated: Jul 1

July is upon us and that means Shark Week is just around the corner – hence the Jaws rip-off in the title. It may be corny, but I think being a manager today can sometimes feel like swimming in shark-infested waters. They’re constantly on the look out for something bad to happen. And who can blame them? We’ve had so much turmoil over the last 18 months, and it may seem to managers there is no safe place for them in the corporate sea.

They’re not the only ones. The employees who report to them also have concerns, angst, anxiety, and reluctance over going back to the workplace. This goes beyond concerns about COVID-19. Employees largely don’t want to head back to the office because they like having flexibility, fewer caregiving concerns, and, of course, no commute.

Before the pandemic, most companies were somewhat bearish over the idea of remote work. In spite of their concerns, what they found is work-from-home has turned out pretty well for them, making the idea of permanent work location flexibility a viable option. Knowing this, employers should think carefully about demanding employees come back to the office. According to a survey done by FlexJobs, 58% of workers say they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they can’t continue to work remotely, while a further 31% aren’t sure what they’d do. That’s 89% of workers thinking strongly about their options around remote work.

Remote work is no longer a perk. It’s now an important business strategy. And it’s one that managers are going to have to figure out how to work with.

"Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life."
- Benjamin Franklin

Remote work isn’t exactly new. There are many companies who have had people working remotely for years. Typically, these people were in sales and had territories to manage that were away from headquarters, but not always. Some companies and their leaders have found that remote employees are a vital part of their workplaces.