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  • Lexi Yan

Collaboration vs. Convenience: How will companies prioritize the will of the people?

Not long ago, it was impossible to imagine office culture without designated desks, conference rooms, company politics, and water cooler chats. How else would our bosses know how productive we’re being? How else would we network our way into our next job? It wasn’t until we were forced into working from home that many realized how much better of an experience it was. No commute? Living wherever you want? Not being shackled to your expensive big city rent? An actual work-life balance? Sign me up!

As remote work has become the norm, it’s clear to see that not everything is rosy. Early-stage employees desire mentorship and knowledge sharing, which often comes from in-person interactions. Collaboration is harder and requires significantly more communication and planning. It can be difficult to meet coworkers outside of your project teams and to build out your network, especially for those of us that are less outgoing. For many, it’s been proving to be challenging to bond with your manager virtually, especially when starting a new job. Despite these factors, it’s hard to see many companies forcing their employees back to their office, short of a role-based requirement. Instead, there’s been a new term floating around: hybrid work. Hybrid work seems like the best of both worlds. Collaboration and in-person bonding when it makes sense, the convenience and flexibility of remote work when it doesn’t. Though hybrid work cultures take a bit more juggling and communication than traditional in-person ones, they offer employees significantly more control over their work environment. That is, as long as companies focus on prioritizing the wants of the employees. According to CNBC, 80% of HR executives report that hybrid work is exhausting to employees. "Some employees moved to hybrid only to have to go back to remote as new variants emerged, and that speaks to the uncertainty." This is further aggravated by companies that claim to offer flexibility, only to then dictate which or how many days/hours employees must be present.

It’s clear to see that hybrid work is the way to go, as long as companies take the learnings from the pandemic and apply it while fostering their cultures going forward. Empower your employees to make independent decisions. Trust them with the space to get their job done. Focus on what you can do to enable your team to do the best work possible. Ask your team what they want and need; adapt solutions to your unique job requirements rather than an overarching company decree. The future of post-pandemic work is hard to predict, don’t take your company out of the running for the top talent by ignoring the will of your people.

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