Zoom, who became synonymous with working from home while offices closed during the pandemic, recently made headlines with their ‘structured hybrid approach’ to return to the office (RTO).

Still a point of contention between leaders and employees – as discussed in our recent blog article – Zoom is not the only major company to set its hybrid working policy in stone. Behemoths like Amazon, Disney, and Google are already mandating RTO – with Google even keeping tabs on in-office attendees.

With RTO still at the forefront of conversation for businesses today, is there a ‘right’ thing to do?

Well perhaps there is no one right way, but there are considerations and principles that have not changed, and remain important as companies continue to balance the views of leaders and employees:

  1. Communicating clearly remains critical

When setting hybrid work rules, continue to share the rationale and benefits with employees, such as how it supports customers, development, etc.

  1. Provide evidence on the benefits and costs of both RTO and remote work

People listen to numbers – leading with evidence on the impact on teams provides something empirical, beyond anecdotes and hearsay.

  1. Employees are continuing to look to leadership as role models

The team at ENGAGE previously observed that higher-earning mid-to-senior-level employees were more likely to champion remote working. Considering a key benefit of returning to the office is learning and development for newer and younger employees, is there an opportunity here?

  1. Acknowledge that this will be case-by-case

The aforementioned companies’ different approaches show there is no silver bullet to RTO. People’s lives have changed drastically since the pandemic, including the cost-of-living crisis, caring responsibilities, etc. Businesses should tackle this on a case-by-case basis for their business’, employee and customer needs, and managers should follow suit for employees.

  1. Tie it to your values and mission as a business

With several other trends affecting the work landscape, employees and prospective employees are looking to values – beyond boundary-setting, communication and data, is there an opportunity to retain and attract employees by tying your policy to your business purpose?

The Return To Office debate is not going away – striking the right push/pull balance is critical to avoid demotivating employees.

If you’d like help adopting a more data-driven approach to hybrid optimization, get in touch with the ENGAGE team.