How the office/remote hybrid model falls apart.

How the office/remote hybrid model falls apart.

Thoughts About Connect

Your business survived! Congrats!

Hell yea! We did it!

In March of 2020 you weren't sure if this 'remote working' thing was going to pan out, but it kinda did didn't it. Your company had always worked from the office before, but somehow everything didn't fall apart.

What a testament to the team to handle everything going on in their personal lives, and yet still be able to hold down the fort business wise.

Your accountant is finalizing numbers and you actually managed to grow a bit last year...

Mind blown emoji.

Now, let's call it July... Time to think about how and where you work as a company in the future.

Basically, when should everyone come back to the office...

But you're a modern leader and decide to do some research. A few Business Insider posts discussing the future of work indicate that the hybrid office/home model is what employees want. Inc Magazine confirms. If this is the way business is going...

But you want to put it to your team for their input as well. After all, they crushed it last year.

Slack poll says....

50% want to be remote full time.

40% want to be remote 2-3 days a week.

10% want to be in the office full time.

Not too bad right?

If people could work well remotely before, and a large percentage want to for some balance of the week, this should be fine...

You even start to run some napkin math on partially downsizing the office with new vacancy projections. Hey, this could turn out to be a good thing... let's see how it goes.

You roll with this plan and announce in next, still fully on zoom, all hands. It's well received.

A month passes and it's now time to open the office doors.

You're going into the office, because, let's face it, it's less than 10 minutes from your home and you 'like to see what's going on'.

The people who were itching to get back are energetic and excited. There is once again workplace banter.. This is going to go great!

The first all hands meeting in this new working environment is a shit show... about half and half in-office/remote, and you try to set up a zoom on the conference room tv, but none of the remote employees can hear or really participate for that matter.

This situation repeats itself in a few other meetings... Note to self: need to invest in better conference equipment. Scratch that, wayyyy to expensive. Something else is happening too... you start hearing that so and so "wasn't available", or "don't know where they are". Maybe this remote thing isn't all it's cracked up to be... if some people are happy to come back in office full time, why isn't everyone... why can't it be like it used to...

The end of the year rolls around and, yep, time for good ole performance reviews. Your team leads send you the reports, and you spot a pattern... always been good at spotting patterns. An outsized proportion of the team who were in the office full time received higher marks.

But you're smarter than that, so you question a few of the leaders and get rationalizations like "she's great at collaboration", "he's always willing to jump in an help", "they really put in the extra effort".

Sounds like these remote people aren't cutting it anymore...

Before you even do anything... you get word that two people are leaving. And... yep, they work full time remotely.

Maybe it's for the best... They didn't get high marks for the year anyway... but they were awesome during that year when everyone was remote... wonder what changed.

You still haven't done anything to address the meeting room issues, but why can't they just come in for meetings if they really want to participate.

Lunch with a few fellow business owners doesn't yield any actionable advice... Most have either gone to one complete end of the spectrum. Fully in office or full remote... You do have one friend who is doing hybrid and says it's going great though... What are they doing differently?...

A few more months roll by and it's time...

You announce at the next all hands it's time to 'return to work'. Those who were working remotely, part time or full, need to make plans to be in the office full time within the next 4 weeks. 'We work best when we're all together operating on the same level'. 'It's best for collaboration'. 'Now that it's completely safe, it just makes sense'...

Team leads say the DM's were 'flying' that day, but, you stick to your guns and stick with the plan.

Good thing you never got around to downsizing the office!

Two weeks go by and, not exactly surprising, a handful of people resign. You'd always known them to be great workers and a few had (just over a year ago) been flagged as 'leadership potential'... hmmmm.

It's been a quarter now that everyone is 'back to normal'. You review the latest numbers. Revenue is.... down. Down!?!? But everyone is now back and we should be operating at full steam!

Maybe just a hiccup. You do still need to replace a few of the folks who left, but recruiting is a bit tougher than it used to be... All these damn people wanting to work remote!

Another quarter passes... Not as steep a drop, but numbers are down again. What is going on! I've got everyone back operating as if we were pre pandemic. We should be rolling by now... Well, we did lose a few people...

Numbers do eventually flatten out, but growth doesn't come as natural as it did before...

You do eventually fill the seats you needed by people who 'like coming into the office'.

The business continues on... But let's face it, it ain't like it used to be.


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