Organizations that enforce mandated return-to-office policies can negatively impact employee productivity, intent to stay and performance when not done strategically and transparently, according to Gartner, Inc. Instead, organizations should focus on three strategies to successfully encourage employees into the office: aligning purpose to place; motivating with transparency; and making inclusion foundational.
Speaking at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference in Sydney today, Neal Woolrich, director, advisory in the Gartner HR practice said, “Return-to-office mandates can feel like an about-face in employee flexibility, autonomy, and well-being when it lacks meaning and reason, which is starkly at odds with the more human-centric corporate purpose many organizations have shifted towards.”
Align Purpose to Place
The biggest hurdle employers face with return-to-office mandates is justifying why being in the office matters, when the work does not change.
Motivate With Transparency, Not Mandates
According to the June survey, more than 50% of employees choose not to go into the office because they do not see the point, with many believing they are just as productive and collaborative when working remotely.
Rather than mandating office returns, organization’s need to motivate them with open and honest communication to encourage office attendance, otherwise the trust deficit between employees and management will only erode further.
Make Inclusion Foundational
Mandating onsite presence for everyone may appear to create a more equitable environment, but the June survey reveals that remote workers actually experience 10% higher inclusion than onsite workers. This is partially due to them feeling more authentic in a remote environment, where they have privacy and control over their workspace.
Gartner recommends building an inclusive work environment that meets both the emotional and physical needs of employees to help them feel connected when in the office. This will result in huge benefits for talent and the business in terms of higher engagement, performance and intent to stay.