This was a grave week. Our employer informed us that they are taking measures to cut down on people working from home.
I was amazed quite frankly. The reason given was “we should be in the office so we are together”. Thanks, that’s very helpful.
There are many organisations that are moving in the opposite direction with supporting research suggesting working from home can actually be more productive and increase employee engagement. Why should it matter where you work (provided we have the technology to communicate)? Is it not more important whether you are actually getting your work done on time and to a high standard?
Agreed, working from home all the time will not be sensible and it loses any personal connection and group energy.
But why are employees so keen to work from home? Is it because we now have the technology available so it makes sense to do it? Is it a must, perhaps childcare, furniture delivery, having the car serviced? Or is it because of the freedom – no boss overlooking your every move so perhaps you can spend some time working and some time doing what you would otherwise do in your leisure time?
Why are employers not so keen? Maybe employees cannot be trusted? As London Mayor Boris Johnson once joked “we all know that it is sitting wondering whether to go down to the fridge to hack off that bit of cheese before checking your emails again”.
There may be a wider issue. Google report that the majority of their employees…actually prefer to come to the office to work! Why would you do that when you can work from home and no one cares in a high tech, trendy non-regimented company?
Could it be that the trust issue is not whether employers trust their employees? But rather, do employees trust their employer?
When you are made promises on the company’s value and beliefs and these do not transpire, then naturally you will lose trust and feel disengaged.
Tony Schwartz surveyed 12,000 plus employees to find out what increases employee engagement. This was put down to four key things:
1. Physical (opportunity to recharge)
2. Emotional (feeling valued)
3. Mental (autonomy to do things and be creative)
4. Spiritual (connected to a higher purpose)
So this leads us to the question, what practical steps can an organisation take to increase trust and therefore engagement of their employees?
Stay tuned for a future post on this. Now to get back to work (only messing)!
What is your employer like? What do they do that makes you feel engaged? Do you trust your employer?Share on Facebook