Author: Ana Martínez, Head of Strategic Partnerships |
I must admit that when I started writing this article, it was because I was appalled at Elon Musk´s latest interview on returning to work policies on CNBC (see: Cnbc.com), earlier this year.
In that interview, he went beyond productivity concerns and suggested that working from home is “morally wrong” when service workers still have to show up at a physical workplace.
It’s patently a ridiculous argument to have all staff return to the office 5 days a week (or more!), simply as a pointless way to ‘level up’. Why go back to wasting un-necessary, not to mention wholly unproductive hours in traffic jams, waiting on delayed trains, and enduring the stresses of commuting? Why sacrifice time with our families and the ability to put our kids to bed? Why revert to a completely sub-optimal work experience just because Musky and his industry peers think they know best? Not a chance.
The shift in favour of remote work is irreversible. There are even reports, like the one in lavanguardia.com, suggesting that some new generations are rejecting face-to-face work altogether.
OK, so there are arguments for office working, for example there is a case to be made that younger, less experienced employees may miss out on valuable learning opportunities, in a fully remote model.
Maybe then, a hybrid model offers the best of both worlds, offering a good compromise? But surely only if the time spent in the office provides a greater benefit than working from home; otherwise, what is the point?
Having people present in the office just for the sake of it, only adds unnecessary costs for both the company and the employee. This would be like going back, to what was a common practise in my country (Spain) more than 20 years ago, whereby staying late in the office (that would be as late as 8 or 9pm), was the expectation. In many cases just so that you could be seen to be working late, regardless as to whether that time was used productively or not.
So perhaps a forced hybrid model isn’t quite right either? At EIP, our policy is simple: work from home as you like and as much as you want.
And it works. We attract high-quality talent, and our employee satisfaction studies confirm that we retain our people because we offer this flexibility.
We maintain a head office and operate co-working hubs in cities where we don´t have physical offices. Here, employees can choose if and when they want to meet for workshops, meetings, or casual gatherings to learn from one another and build social connections with their colleagues. Those who prefer working from home can take advantage of informal social tools that we employ, such as Coffeepals, and our regular virtual pub-quizzes to take a break and connect with their colleagues remotely.
As a result, our team spend more time with their families, avoid commuting hassles, own their time and more importantly, are just happier! Shouldn’t that be the goal of all companies?
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