I am in the thick of the Pope mayhem this week living in the Washington, DC area, which is the Pope’s first stop on his US tour. As of a few weeks ago, there was a ton of coverage on how his visit will impact the area and our commutes. One headline read, “Seriously, You Should Not Drive When the Pope Is Here.” Our city shuts down at the sight of one snowflake, so you can imagine the frenzy this has created in terms of being on the roads. Not to mention, we are ranked as having the WORST traffic in the country. While the Pope visiting our nation’s capital is an attraction for many, it doesn’t mean that the daily lives of residents come to a hault. Many companies opted to allow their employees to work from home during the visit to avoid unnecessary traffic.
I work from home most days as we are a remote company, and I’ve worked in the consulting industry long enough, so this is nothing new to me. However, in talking to friends who do work in an office every day, most complained about how their companies dragged their feet in letting them work from home. I was quite surprised to hear, given how easy it is to communicate in the absence of being physically present in the same office. I concluded that letting employees work from home has nothing to do with accessibility, but more to do with trust. It's a behavior change.
I’m not saying every organization should get rid of offices all together. They are crucial for collaboration and a lot can be accomplished through a face-to-face meeting or even in the lunch line. I’m advocating for the option and flexibility to work from home (where possible - I understand not all organizations can accommodate telecommuting such as highly secure or hard labor jobs). After all, according to Global Workplace Analytics, there are quite a few benefits to giving employees the option to telecommute:
Here are some tips to strengthen the trust needed to give employees the option to work from home:
Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps organizations build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research, and recruiting strategy offerings.