Turns out that, according Kastle Systems, monthly office occupancy rates for the top 10 metro areas have been hovering around the 43 percent range for a little over five weeks. Kastle suggests that this may be an “official” indication of the new normal.
Yet, here is another line now being drawn in the sand.
Some high-profile industry leaders are on the side of the “office”. Other, equally high-profile industry leaders are on the side of “home.”
To complete the triangle, “non-executive” worker sentiment (for those who can afford such) is clearly on the side of Work from Home (WFH)—only 17 percent would like to return to the office according to CNBC (3/8/22).
When we view this through the lens of a Balance Driven Business, we can better incorporate the compromise now needed between divisive policies or statements and determine what will work for OUR businesses.
At its core, the question then becomes what does the office vs WFH really represent? In our philosophy of balancing the science and art of business, the office is the anchor for collaboration, (or community, or culture)—science. Home is the anchor for creativity (or convenience, or cost)—art. The balance is letting the business’ needs for specific levels of productivity to determine the RATIO of office time to WFH time.
Creativity is an individual endeavor. We need it to solve problems, divine future states, and formulate diplomatic communications. Collaboration is how we develop strategy, execute complex systems, and cement the teamwork necessary to align the business’ outputs with its values. All of which are examples of the challenges that litter the pages of traditional print and social(business) media alike.
If we want more creativity, we need to provide the most conducive environments for the individuals who are charged with that task. If we need more collaborative execution, we need to incentivize the coming to the locations that enable it.
After all, it was only a short 2.5 years ago when a top-three business challenge was Employee Disengagement. In 2020, Gallup reported a 66 percent employee disengagement rate in the US and an 80% rate globally. The Human Resources professional organization SHRM reported that disengagement further increased by 2 percent in February of 2022.
In 2019, Forbes reported that, at the average salary of $47,000, the per employee cost of disengagement is approximately $16,000. Gallup has also reported that disengagement cost is roughly 18% of annual salary, and impacts the US economy at around $350 Billion.
So whether or not our employees are voting with their feet (yet?) these statistics certainly imply that they are at least voting with their Productivity levels, and it’s costing our businesses plenty.
I would argue the new normal requires that business leadership and worker sentiment needs to better align. Polemic policies of either or will only continue to drive disengagement. Although not all positions can be done remotely in any sense, finding the right balance of hybrid policy is the FIRST step to not only reversing this disengagement, but also increasing the creativity and collaboration levels that we have been challenged by well before the “great change.”
Let’s talk. Let’s compromise. Let’s move forward.
Let’s find a balance.
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and committing to a Balance Driven Business keeps you at pace in this new world of business— the ever-increasing speed in which business adaptations need to occur to realign people, product, and profit. Col. Sudip Mukerjee of Reserv3 Consulting and Sean Lewis of SLC Advisory Group combine their specialties for the deep dive needed to bring your business up-to-date with the finance and people challenges of the New World, and to lay the groundwork for staying competitive well into the future.