In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Stanford Professor of Economics Nicholas Bloom and his co-authors argue that today’s work-from-home push is being hampered by a “major disconnect” between employees and management. That disconnect centers around notions of productivity and attendance.
With respect to productivity, for example, managers believe that work from home reduces productivity while employees think it “massively increases it.” This disconnect comes largely from difference viewpoints about commuting time. With respect to attendance, when employees and managers are asked about “the disciplinary consequences of not coming into the office,” managers believe the worker is “risking termination” while employees believe no discipline is appropriate.
Given this disconnect, the authors argue that the “organized hybrid” model is best. Under this model, employers choose two or three “anchor days” a week that all employees must come into the office. Typically, these anchor days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Thursday because Monday and Friday are the most popular work-from-home days. Research indicates that this model raises both employee and company productivity, the authors claim.
As for enforcing attendance, the authors argue that attendance should be enforced exactly as it was before the COVID pandemic – that is, not coming to work on anchor days is unacceptable, except in cases of a bona fide emergency. Managers should then encourage working from home on non-anchor days so employees enjoy the full benefits of the work-from-home policy without FOMO.
You can read the full Harvard Business Review article here.