GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
Happy employees mean more engaged and productive employees. I’ve written many times that what’s happening inside an organization will be felt on the outside by customers. A good employee experience (EX) will positively impact the customer experience (CX). And of course, the opposite is true. A “ripple effect” of employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction will inevitably reach your customers, impacting their overall experience.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced a shutdown, many companies and organizations realized—or at least thought—their employees could work remotely. Many companies walked away from their offices and didn’t renew their leases. This shift in the traditional in-office, five-day-a-week schedule was either eliminated or modified, and many workers discovered they enjoyed working from home. However, it looks as if this “experiment” didn’t work out as planned, and many companies will start requiring RTO (return to office) in a schedule that looks similar to pre-pandemic office hours and attendance requirements.
In August, ResumeBuilder surveyed 1,000 corporate decision-makers about their RTO plans. Here are the main results:
- 90% of companies will return to the office by 2024.
- only 2% say their company never plans to require employees to return to work in person.
- 72% say RTO has improved revenue.
- 28% will threaten to fire employees who don’t comply with RTO policies.
Why return to the traditional office environment? The answer is something we already know. Because companies potentially make more money.
The move to return to the office started in 2021, just after the lockdown. That year, 31% of companies required employees to return to their offices, 41% in 2022 and 27% in 2023. Most of the respondents to the survey claimed they saw an improvement in revenue, productivity and worker retention.
And for those companies that plan to demand RTO in 2024, 81% say it will improve revenue, 81% believe it will improve the company culture and 83% say it will improve worker productivity.
These decision-makers aren’t making an arbitrary determination. They recognize the negative impact an RTO policy can have. Many of them (72%) said their company would offer commuter benefits, 57% would help with child-care costs and 64% would provide catered meals. But are the perks enough?
There is concern that a shift back to full-time office hours could cause a company to lose good employees in a hiring environment in which candidates are “calling the shots” and working for companies that not only give them a steady paycheck and traditional benefits, but also a work schedule and in-office policy that aligns with their need for work/life balance. Even so, according to the survey, 28% of the decision-makers surveyed claimed they would fire employees for not complying with their RTO policies.
As we navigate the complexities of a post-pandemic working world, companies face a tough choice that will shape and impact both the employee and customer experiences. Suppose a company decides to require a 100% return to the office. It must recognize and weigh the opportunities—primarily, increased productivity and revenue—with the negatives—less-than-enthusiastic employees and the potential (even probable) loss of employees.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com
Image Credits: Shep Hyken
Sign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.