Four Steps to Negotiate with Employees Who Want to Work from Home

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Aug 11, 2021
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Jeanette Coleman Director of Human Resources Axcet HR

Multiple studies have now confirmed that a high percentage of employees want to keep working from home after the pandemic. Most indicate that between 25% and 40% of employees are willing to find another job if they can’t work at home at least some of the time. However, one survey conducted in April 2021 showed 58% of workers would “absolutely” look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely.

These are staggering statistics that show how much the pandemic shifted workers’ collective thinking about the importance of flexible schedules. It creates a potential double hit for businesses. It means that at the same time some of your employees are inclined to leave if you insist on having them work on-site, a certain number of candidates for open positions won’t even consider your company if you don’t offer a remote-work option.

Because your best employees represent the future of your small business and it’s costly to replace them, it’s best to engage with them to find solutions that work for both of you. and to show that your company cares about their job satisfaction and work-life balance.

How tot Engage Remote Workers

Four Steps to Retain Good Employees Who Want to Keep Working at Home:

  1. Figure out how effective telecommuting was for your employees, your managers, and your company.

    Did managers interact effectively with their teams? Were team members able to work effectively and achieve goals together? Did working from home raise or lower productivity? Did you see a decrease in absenteeism? Did employees working remotely save your company money? The answers to those questions will help determine what changes could make remote work more successful for your business going forward.

  2. Ask your employees what they want and why they want it.

    Before making decisions about whether it’s better to keep your employees working from home, actively listen to both their concerns and perceived advantages about working on site. Understanding that thinking will help you address employees’ apprehensions and decide what structure best meets their needs and the company’s, whether that’s all at the workplace, all remote or somewhere in between.

  1. Consider which roles may lend themselves to remote work.

    For employees who stock shelves or provide certain health care services, telecommuting won’t be an option. However, IT and customer service employees might be prime candidates for remote work in the same company. A role-specific evaluation will result in better decision-making than all-or-nothing thinking will.

  1. If you need or really want all employees back in the workplace, consider sweetening the pot.

    Think about whether you might be able to view a certain amount of commute time as work hours or might be able to offer new amenities or technologies that would make coming to the workplace more appealing and more efficient than working at home.

The pandemic has given companies a new opportunity to reimagine the fundamentals of how and where work gets done. The decision to continue remote work policies completely or in a hybrid format is highly individualized, but companies need to recognize that employees – especially those in the millennial and Gen Z demographics – may now expect flexible work. It will be in your organization’s best interest to listen closely and work to find compromises that benefit your ability to retain and recruit top employees.

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