Now that everyone is back in their offices and meeting rooms there is a temptation for companies to allow old habits to creep back. It wasn’t so long ago that we were all talking about the advantages of flexible workplaces and self-organized teams. There was a general consensus that offices weren’t the only places where employees could work productively.

So why is it that we have reverted to our standard office routines? Is it really so hard to trust employees? Although managers clearly need additional skills to handle remote working and it is easier to monitor output when everyone works in the same building, lockdown demonstrated that staff members are often more productive when working from home than in the office. So, should flexible working only be considered as an option when required by law?

“To retain employees in the long term it is important to utilize all the positive side effects of flexible working models,” says Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.), CEO of Global DiVision. “Companies must provide employees with plausible reasons for withdrawing their new freedoms and flexibility. Failure to do so means that such a move is perceived as untransparent and could even cost companies more than just a few percentage points of turnover.”

The CEO of a Global DiVision client has also recognized that physical presence is not a must, summarizing the company’s new employer journey as follows, “Just setting up the initial workshop was already very exciting for us. Some of the participants were present in our large conference room while others joined us digitally via video conferencing. We also felt that the discussions during the breakout sessions were far more focused than before we used this blended format.”