There is no doubt that it will be imperative for organisations to discuss this with their entire workforce. From what we have observed during the pandemic, decision makers at a more senior level are often less affected by the challenges than those further down the organisation who may not have separate office space at home or share space with others.
Another challenge created by remote working, is the lack of opportunity for ambient learning, where employees learn just by soaking up conversations when surrounded by more experienced colleagues. The 70:20:10 model for learning is well known, where 70 percent comes through job related experiences, 20 percent through interactions with others, and only 10 percent through formal training and demonstrates this should not be overlooked. For many organisations with a higher graduate and early careers population, this has become a bigger problem – stunting the development of those concerned. How this can be rectified, is still a challenge perplexing many organisations.
There is no doubt that there will be those with a stronger preference for being at home, and some wanting to spend more time in the office. Another related concern is one of “presence bias” and the potential for employees to have greater chances of internal advancement, even subconsciously, than employees who are predominantly working from home if they are seen more regularly by colleagues and managers. It will therefore be important that managers ensure time is spent equally with those in the office and at home. HR Consultant and Employment Lawyer, Amanda Lennon agrees: “Employers should take care to ensure that any decisions about their employees are made using fair and objective processes, for instance promotions and other changes to terms and conditions of employment, to avoid the suggestion of bias against those working from home. Otherwise, employers risk having to deal with grievances, and even potential claims for matters such as discrimination, if they don’t act fairly.”