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As the debate about returning to full-time work rages on, there’s one thing to think about again: a five-day commute could harm your people and the planet.
Being in the office is definitely beneficial, especially when you look to the future. Employees under 30 least likely give preference to fully remote work, which is expensive. Gallup shows that Gen Z and millennials are just as alienated as their elders right now, in part because of the lack of social connections and support that the office provides.
Yet overwhelming research speaks of a full payoff stimulates turnoverundermines creativity, limits the talent pool and reduces performance – all when you could have the best of both worlds.
Related: Welcome to the era of hybrid work
Start with the simple math of a five-day commute. Add average time spent in a car or bus, to many minutes of burning for breaks and water cooler, and your employees automatically start the week with a 10-hour deficit. This is just the beginning of the damage caused by command and control when you need to see people sitting in their seats to know they are working and where attendance matters more than results.
Simply put: this is lazy leadership. Watching people “work” is a poor substitute for clear performance and accountability. If you insist on such an agreement, you will have to forgive the employees for feeling that you are working in a kindergarten.
This outdated form of leadership is based on the assumption that the old way of working improves culture and productivity. On the contrary, as Harvard Business Review notes that the Great Retirement began long before the pandemic. And in a recent poll Mercer94% of companies with remote workers said productivity was equal to or greater than pre-pandemic levels.
Cisco plunged deeper. In a survey of 28,000 people, 61% of network company remote workers reported an improvement in the quality of their work. Almost the same number found self-improvement in professional knowledge. Half saw jumps in working relationships and relationships.
It’s not hard to see why. While the universal approach works well for machines, it is detrimental to humans. Pillars of health including exercise, sleep, and stress levels improved as the world became remote. In other words: give employees the flexibility to navigate their circumstances and they will be happier, more motivated and less likely Leave.
Related: How to balance employee happiness and business expectations
Get the most out of your employees
The hybrid is the optimal model for workers, the organization and the Earth. The ideal working time, based on nearly two decades of research and practice, seems to be two to three days a week. People need that sense of connection and collaboration in the office. But they also require uninterrupted time to focus, create, and think deeply. Let them work in the way that works best for them, and higher productivity will naturally result.
In this new age of inclusion, hybrid work is more respectful of different types of workers, including mothers, single parents, and people with disabilities. By thinking beyond the idea of a prototype worker, business leaders can create a more inclusive environment for everyone.
Rather than mandate the entire company, scheduling decisions should be made on an individual basis. Accounting, for example, does not have the same personal needs as human resources. This allows teams to optimize their intentional time together, giving employees confidence that they can do the same with their focus time.
We know that healthy workers make workers more productive. They need time to think, especially in a knowledge economy. Eliminate mindless commuting and five-day work breaks and create the ability to work remotely on certain days. In doing so, you can reap the best of both worlds – focus and deep thinking combined with collaboration and communication in the office.
You will also decide what McKinsey calls the “gap in the hierarchy of goals”. Only 18% of employees feel a sense of purpose that gives meaning to their work, compared to 85% of executives.
Related: 5 steps to implement the ideal hybrid work model
By focusing on saving the environment by getting all these cars off the road, you are setting a goal through a common mission to reduce environmental damage. So much the better if it allows you to reduce the area of your office. Interestingly, the buildings are almost 40% greenhouse gas emissions. The largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, the most common greenhouse gas, is transport sectorled by cars and pickup trucks.
Finally, there is an added bonus to all this: you will become a better manager. The hybrid system improves connectivity. This is because you cannot rely on random encounters for interaction. When you work from a distance, you have to be more deliberate one-on-one. Thus, those who do this well will be well on their way to mastering one of the most fundamental skills of great leadership.