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2022: Return to the office? 6 ways CEOs can decide

Deciding on permanent remote work, hybrid work or a partial return to the office for employees has been the priority of many CEO’s around the globe. How do we as leaders make the right decisions for our customers, employees and our organization as we navigate the ever-changing environment of our new work from wherever, whenever world?

In the past year and a half, I have spoken with leaders in various industries facing decisions on a potential return to the office. Some who have opted to operate 100% remote, some who are running a hybrid model and yet others who are contemplating a possible return to the office.

6 Considerations for the Return to Office

  1. Think about your objectives: Consider a model that aligns with company objectives, values, and culture. Is it right for the business? Can we offer additional flexibility and get the same or better results?
  2. Meet your customers where they are: Consider how your customers and partners are doing business and how the way you decide to work will bring them the most success.
  3. Survey your team: Conduct surveys with your workforce to understand how they want to work and why. Have skip level meetings with all parts of the company to gain this understanding. Some countries also require consultation if you change a work location such as the UK and India. Ensure you confirm with legal counsel your consultation obligations on a permanent change of where your team works.
  4. Run the numbers: Weigh the cost of each option and determine how much each model will cost to operate. 100% remote will likely be the least expensive, 100% in the office next – but may have employee retention issues, and hybrid is likely the most costly. Weigh the pros and cons of each model and how they affect productivity, quality, communication, and retention.
  5. Analysis: Have a clear understanding the impact of your decision will be to all stakeholders. Take time to get to the right decision and think through all the costs that change management will involve.. Assign one leader to own this transformation inside the executive leadership team.
  6. Engage your leadership team. Consider their insights and the synergy you have with your leaders to help make this key decision. Involve them every step of the way. Review survey results, and discuss the pros and cons. Discuss how future face-to-face gatherings will occur, but outside the office. Do you shift some office savings to home office setups and stipends? Do you shift some office space savings to travel and off-site budget to facilitate trust building? Do you offer flexible shared works spaces for those who would prefer to work outside the home?

Why Communications Technologies will Remain Key

Whatever the outcome will be, the data has to first be analyzed and options have to be identified and weighed to arrive at the right decision. While spending time with leaders operating in these models, I found one theme that ran through every conversation: The need and desire for more intelligent ways to communicate effectively and to really leverage asynchronous (async) and live video in their day-to-day enterprise operations.

With more than half the workforce preferring to work from home, most companies are turning toward the fully remote or hybrid model as their new way of work. Whereas the in-office model invests capital into physical office space, the hybrid work force lean on technology to create a level playing field for those in the office and at home (async video, for instance). The Qumu Live Q&A platform enables remote workers to ask questions just like in-person workers, creating a collaborative environment from any location.

No matter what you decide in the end, video will play an integral part in today’s corporate world. Make smart video work for you as you drive your organization forward in 2022. Smart video means:

  • Leveraging reusable content to accelerate learning and retention.
  • Measuring viewer engagement and communication effectiveness.
  • Improving communication by getting the right information into the right hands at the right time.

Smart video is here. Don’t miss out.

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