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As the new year dawned at The Walt Disney Company, employees made a surprising decision. Disney’s re-CEO Bob Iger sent a letter to employees telling them they would all be back in the office at least four days a week. As he himself said, “In a creative business like ours, there is no substitute for the ability to connect.”
Disney’s approach is not groundbreaking. As the new post-pandemic era dawns, and as businesses continue to grapple with chaotic challenges such as economic downturns, supply shortages and mass retirements, many high-profile leaders are stepping in to more traditional face-to-face meetings. demanding a return to work routine. Tesla and Twitter employees were told: go back to the office Or get out. Employees of TikTok The company received a similar notice in January amid a crackdown on employees whose home addresses were too far from the office.
Far from being a call to action, these return-to-office announcements have provoked a backlash from employees. Remote and hybrid policies have proven effective, and employees are clearly reluctant to lose their newfound work-life balance. So how can leaders ensure flexibility while ensuring the necessary productivity and creativity?
RELATED: Remote work is here to stay. It’s time to update your leadership methods.
1. Release control
After Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his return to the office, employees got together and wrote a letter explaining why the new policy ignored their need for flexibility and inclusivity. Other employees have similar objections to the idea of trudging back into the office.
The first thing leaders can do to give their employees a boost is to recognize that no one is in charge of individual creativity. People have different ways of accessing their productivity (especially in their creative fields), and leaders who seek to dictate how individual employees find their zone are the best ways to find lasting success. you will have a hard time.
Instead of trying to control creativity, you should hand over ownership to your employees and decide when, where and how they work most effectively. Giving back control allows people to feel responsible for their own success. This is a more engaging way of working and shows employees that the company respects individual processes when it comes to maximizing productivity.
2. Focus on results
The need for innovation and creativity may be Iger’s reason for Disney’s latest internal policy, but a lack of trust may be the real driver of in-person work. According to Microsoft research, 85% of leaders Respondents say remote and hybrid work has reduced their confidence that employees are productive from home.
Especially in times of heightened uncertainty, you may be tempted to set your regiment’s hours of service. Managing time and coercive unity are ways to regain authority after being pushed aside by outside forces. It is often much more effective to measure progress toward a goal or desired outcome than to measure productivity in terms of a given number of hours worked.
What is the ultimate outcome your team is trying to achieve? What are the daily, weekly and stretch goals that will transform your business? This could lead to the creation of a hybrid work week that combines flexibility and efficiency.
For example, if you have a big project launch, get together in the office and get excited about the work ahead. However, quiet days allow people to work the way they want. You don’t need to request in person attendance as long as the work is completed.
Related: The value of flexible management in the era of remote work
3. Stay at the beginning stage
Part of the backlash over being told to return to the office stems from the coercive nature of these announcements. Employees who enjoy more autonomy suddenly find that they have no choice.For new policies to work, leaders must: involve employees in the process.
How can you discuss evolving workplace practices and policies with your team in a more inclusive and peaceful way?
Harness the vast brain power of your entire team. Not only will your co-workers come up with better alternatives and solutions, but you will also be more connected to the organization because you respect their opinion. If they are part of the solution, they commit to the result. Isn’t that all?
A hybrid way of working may challenge our sense of leadership, but if we look out for each other and what we do, we can get along. By communicating regularly, getting everyone involved in discussions, and focusing on outcomes rather than rigid rules, you can move beyond the home vs. office debate and get back to doing what you love. can.
Related: How leaders can make the most of remote work