office superiors

Many employees still don’t see why they should return from their home office to the company office. This is also because their managers can hardly explain the reasons.

After the corona pandemic, many companies are still having difficulties in bringing staff at least temporarily back into the company buildings. If they use force to enforce return guidelines, this has a negative impact on motivation and thus also on productivity. In addition, the willingness to quit increases – especially in IT, where talented people can still choose the job.

Neal Woolrich, director of human resources (HR) advisory at Gartner, said at the Reimagine HR Conference in Sydney: “At worst, return-to-office mandates trigger the opposite of what is expected in terms of employee flexibility, autonomy, and well-being was intended.” In recent years, many companies have emphasized purpose like a mantra and placed both customers and employees at the center. Coercive measures such as return to office would be in strong contradiction to this.

The fruit basket is not enough.

“After the pandemic, companies tried to lure their staff back to the office with free meals, flexible working hours, and other perks. But these gestures did not work,” Woolrich noted and made several recommendations. Employers must first work on their Office to develop into a place that puts employees at the center. The top priority is that people feel comfortable there.

Secondly, companies would have to argue more plausibly: they often cannot justify why it would be advantageous for their organization and their employees if everyone in the office- especially since many teams work together virtually internationally anyway, the tasks don’t change much and it has been impressively proven in recent years that excellent work can also be done remotely. “We hear again and again that most employees say that they work more productively at home .”

Managers under suspicion.

Many believe that they are only called into the office because their…management then feel more comfortable and be able to exercise direct control. According to a June 2023 Gartner survey of 3,493 employees, 48 ​​percent believe their companies prioritize the wishes of managers, not those of staff.

The analysts recommend that managers redesign the world of work so that the focus is on the meaning and purpose of the work, not the daily work routine. It’s not about enforcing any principles, but about organizing work by consensus in such a practical way that it is clear to everyone why which activity should be carried out at home or in the company office.

Motivate with transparency, not with constraints.

Instead of mandating a return to the office, companies should use open and valid communication to convince employees that certain tasks can be better done in the office. If this does not succeed, the trust deficit that has often already arisen between staff and company management will continue to grow.

The actual one Challenge According to Woolrich, this consists of honest communication between managers . “You have to respect your people enough to tell them the real reasons for their actions,” recommends the analyst. It is important to provide a clear justification so that those affected understand the meaning of the measures and can understand how and why decisions are made. 


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