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The Predictable Remote Workforce Mistake

The coming 6-12 months will be interesting to see how companies adapt to the easing of restrictions on gathering. There is a lot of talk about companies offering remote/hybrid work environments and what that will look like.

I can sense the big mistake that companies will make that will damage this change:

Remote/hybrid work is about flexibility, not simply location. Flexibility in where you work, how you work, and when you work.

The reasons why some people have liked working from home are varied. Yes, avoiding the commute is great and helps reduce stress. Being able to work in sweats and only worry about a shirt is relaxing. But there is so much more - being able to be there for packages that are delivered, being able to run errands when places are open, etc.

Where companies usually make mistakes is by focusing on what they consider the only benefit. They don't realize that there are many benefits that employees will rank differently. Some may think it is nice to be home and have a pet nearby, others may like that they are here to get packages delivered by Amazon.

Some will, this is where companies will lose their mind, prefer the benefit of working alternative hours. Working from home doesn't mean being at your desk from 8 to 5 (or at least it doesn't have to). Some people may like sleeping and not starting until 10 am. Others may start early, take a break to get the kids off to school, then start again. Some may prefer working afternoons or evenings.

When thinking about your future workforce, incorporate flex time and well as flex location.

One thing to clarify - this doesn't mean that employees have total flexibility. For example, if I prefer to work from noon until 10 pm, but my boss or client asks for a 9 am meeting next week, I would still be there. Flex time means clearly defining the expectations and then the employee is responsible for meeting them. If that expectation is at a set time, I get it done.

My prediction: most companies will only offer flex locations, surveys will find that employees aren't totally happy (because they also want flex time) and companies will state that the work from home experiment was a failure.

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