The Great Avoidance
Leadership
Liz Jones

The Great Avoidance: What to consider if your staff are reluctant to come back to the office

Authors
Liz Jones
5 minute Read

We’ve all heard different return to office stories. For some it’s been a welcome relief, stepping away from the blurred lines of work and home, packing a lunch, sending kids back to school, and dusting off the old suit jacket (even if it is now paired with jeans!)

Others have been more reluctant, enjoying the privacy, space, and control over scheduled interactions we became familiar with during the pandemic. Spending more time locally and less time travelling, completing chores between meetings, or being at home with an unwell child while still being able to work productively has meant that for some, while the jacket may be on top, slippers are firmly planted under the desk.

Trial and error

Organisations and leaders have been experimenting with a vast array of return-to-office strategies that suit their cultural vision. I hear stories of Collins Street consulting firms, still holding on to the imagined prestige of multi-story office towers and imposing boardroom tables, insisting on a four or five day per week office attendance policy.

Others such as Atlassian have moved to a “Team Anywhere” policy, and Telstra are embracing the change, announcing more choice for its 26,000 employees under a flexible working policy.

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