Returning to the Office


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“Our company is struggling to figure out how to balance returning to the office and the overwhelming employee opinion that it is unnecessary. I work in HR and our senior leaders are split on the subject. I don’t know the percentage, but over 50% of our employees have said in a survey that they strongly do not want to come back in the office. It’s hard to argue this as our productivity numbers have been better as employees work from home. Any thoughts on how to navigate this?”

Last, I think it was last month. Maybe it was a couple, I think it was last month we had this almost this exact question. I’m going to say then what I said now. It is important that senior leadership not impose their beliefs on others. I was at a meeting just recently and I heard the CEO say, “This company cannot succeed without people being in the office.” Which on the face of it isn’t true because they weren’t in the office for a year and a half. That just isn’t true. If over 50% of your employees say in a survey that they strongly do not want to come back in the office, you ought to pay attention to that, unless they are factory workers or people who their presence is necessary to execute on the job. There is zero reason at all for us to force it.

Now, there is some research coming out and you can look at Korn Ferry. That’s K-O-R-N F-E-R-R-Y. Read the Korn Ferry research, read the new McKinsey report. There is some debate coming back about does culture suffer or so on and so forth. I will tell you, I have clients that are rid themselves of a lot of square footage as they figure out what that looks like. I’m here in the studio. It would be very difficult for me and Marty and the team to do this if I was in California or I was in Arizona and they were here. It’d be hard to do it. We could do it. They could shoot me on Zoom and then edit the– but I’m not sure that that would be as good as this. We wouldn’t have the cool background necessarily, not the amazing equipment.

There are certain reasons, but it doesn’t mean that we have to do it the way we always did it. That’s the message I want you to get. We don’t have to do it that way. Have that conversation with senior leadership. What are various ways we can still measure output? Hope that’s helpful.

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