This question came to mind when reading the reactions to a recent LinkedIn trend about how the fear of missing out would be the thing that got everyone out of this fascination with work from home and back to the office.
It seemed like there was quite a divide on the idea, and obviously, I’ve worked remotely long before the pandemic, so you all know my bias. But one thing kept coming to mind as I read some of the responses.
Clearly, we have differing opinions on whether we’d rather work from home all of the time, part of the time, or never again. But, what struck me about this idea that we could use FOMO, or in person collaboration to, effectively, isolate those other people who might have a different opinion, and then pushing them into doing what we want, seemed so popular. Which is weird for so many companies who claim to value a diverse workforce, right?
Think about it, if our “norm”, and really the only acceptable option, for employment consideration is people who live in the immediate area, who are willing to commute to our location, and work 9-5, or longer, in our office building, with all of the other people who are just like us, that’s not a very diverse group. It might “look” diverse, but it’s really not. You have no geographic diversity, probably very little economic background diversity, and almost zero people with disabilities. You aren’t necessarily recruiting the most talented people, from a wide variety of backgrounds, you’re hiring people who’s lives look a whole lot like yours.
Another thing that kept coming to mind in these responses is that most of these issues could easily be overcome with good, solid, management. Look, I’ve worked, and currently work, with remote teams that collaborate really well, with solid communications and inclusion, and I’ve worked for teams that sat in the same building and rarely talked to one another. We might as well have been remote for all the collaboration there was.
So look, if you are craving being back in the office, and miss the small talk and gossip, great, go on with yourself. But, also understand that there are a growing number of people who are perfectly happy not hearing the gossip and the small talk. (Personally, I have not missed fake small talk, gossip, and office politics for a second.) Others might want something in between. We’re all different. If you want to be an inclusive workplace, you’ll figure out how to accommodate everyone , with solid culture, good communication, and by valuing each of every one of your people, no matter where they get the work done.
You’ll build a culture that attracts the best of the best, instead of the best who are willing to be in your location all day, every day. Or, you’ll continue to limit yourself, and your teams, while competitors with a solid culture that can support diverse working options will continue to hire better talent.
I mean really, most of the industries I work with and know about, are in a talent shortage, we can’t really afford to not be an attractive option, can we?
If you don’t believe me, how about how popular this video is, and consider how many people have sent it to me or my wife recently?
@tokizabethcheck in on your Human Resources department ? #WidenTheScreen #Vinyl Club #WorkFromHome #HomeOffice #HumanResourcesHumor #ReturnToWork? bee – Burbank
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