How will the office/home/hybrid working model impact attracting & retaining talent?
Updated: 6 days ago
Having worked for Shell until 2007, I thought everyone had an option to work from home if they had a job that wasn’t customer facing, or required them to be on site. I remember asking my manager if I could work from home, to which he replied: ‘This is Shell, you can work from the moon as long as you deliver the work’. That seemed logical to me: it was about output rather than location.
When I then left Shell to set up JM Consulting, I was surprised to learn that many companies viewed home working with extreme suspicion, rather than somewhere to get your head down to create the PowerPoint pack/report etc, without distractions.
Then of course along came Covid, when preference didn’t come into it, and guess what: mostly we all managed high levels of - and sometimes intense - productivity from home. Let's not even talk about having approx two mins between teams calls for a comfort break.
So two years on we are (fingers crossed) heading out of the pandemic and - assuming no more nasty variants put a spanner in the works - heading back to the office. Or are we? It would seem the current trend is evolution not revolution, with a hybrid working model being adopted by many companies.
However the tide appears to be turning, with many employees reluctant to go back to the office - it reminds me of my Jack Russell terrier, who digs her heels in and refuses to move if she doesn’t like the direction we are going in. As a result, many companies are becoming more insistent that returning to the office is the reality in the near future.
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive has stated that "working from home is an aberration we are going to correct as soon as possible". Google are seemingly on the same page, whereas others such as Spotify are happy for their employees to work remotely.
I personally hope that the end reality is somewhere in the middle: work from home when you need peace and quiet to create something, and go into the office for the necessary interaction with people. It's all about trust, and work-life balance.