Book a call
By LegalEdge News

Home v office – navigating the return 


Many of us are still facing the common post-pandemic challenge: how and when should we be getting staff to come in to the office. 

We first looked at this problem last year in our blog: Reluctant returners: How to support staff getting back to the office. But since then, the issue has not gone away and opposing views on what is better – a return to full-time in the office or home/hybrid working – appears to have become more entrenched.

Hybrid working (a mixture of both home and office working) is undoubtedly very popular with many staff for obvious economic and lifestyle reasons. Until recently, many companies seemed relaxed about letting staff dictate their own working patterns – the days they worked from home, when they worked their hours and the number of days they came into the office.

However, many businesses find, for good operational reasons, that they need to impose some structure and certainty and want people/ teams in the physical office space more often, even if not five days a week. 

Osborne Clarke have recently made the news  stipulating that attendance in the office is a requirement to be considered for bonus, and BNP Paribas has told staff that it is using data from entry-gate swipes and logins to its computer network to track whether they are hitting targets on working from the office. Smaller businesses are also facing this challenge, although they’re generally not being as draconian.

Staff are resistant; what can you do?

For many, they have got used to far less commuting, they may feel they work better from home and don’t see the need to reconnect physically with their colleagues. Others, often parents or those with other responsibilities, are finding they can manage their work/ life/ responsibility juggle much better if they aren’t needed in an office every day. 

Here are our tips for navigating this conundrum and keeping everyone happy:

Understand your staff’s concerns

Customise extra support for those who need it

Watch out for flexible working requests

Communicate clearly

Make the office somewhere staff want to be: 

Flexibility: 

Nudge using benefits and perks:

Consider what legal tools you can use: 

Conclusion

It’s a tricky balancing act. Push staff too hard and they may vote with their feet and leave. In a tight labour market this obviously needs to be avoided. Worse, the way in which staff are ‘encouraged’ to return could result in claims of constructive dismissal. However, with a little patience and planning, encouraging (most) staff to return to the office more regularly can be achieved harmoniously. Internal communication which strikes the right tone is likely to be the key.

How can we help you?

We can help with a return to the office strategy and advise on dealing with difficult cases. We’ll also help with your legal rights and obligations when it comes to getting staff back to the office. See our HR Legal Counsel service for more information on how we can support your business. 

Back To Blog Our Services
  • Share:

What do our clients think?