The big pivot: how in-person, remote or hybrid work impacts your workforce

Businessman entering modern office with white and wooden walls, concrete floor and conference room with glass doors.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

For the workforce, the excitement or trepidation that comes with returning to in-person work also varies by person. A January 2022 survey of more than 6,000 U.S. adults reports 67% of workers who currently work in-person prefer that it remains that way. Combining those who are both currently working in the office and those who are remote, 44% also preferred to return to in-person work. As the pandemic eases up, workplace leaders are losing sleep over the decision of whether it’s time to ask employees to return to the physical office space again.

Throughout my nearly two decades of recruiting experience with Morgan Hunter’s Accounting and Finance Division, I’ve guided companies and candidates through recessions, a pandemic and everything in between. I know how a seemingly small choice can leave a big impact on your company and its staffing needs. While I won’t assume to make the returning-to-work decision for your organization, I can share tips and tricks for maintaining your workforce along the way.

First, let’s talk about what you should consider before choosing an in-person, remote or hybrid model for your company.

How to decide if it’s time to return to the office  

Before the pandemic, many companies were set in their ways about in-person work. Some even despised the thought of remote work flexibility. Now, remote and hybrid work models are becoming all too common. Many employers who struggled to make do during the work-from-home period have made the obvious choice to return to in-person work as quickly as possible. For others, they discovered it wasn’t quite so daunting to hire employees for remote work and have decided to ditch the office space altogether or become more flexible on worker preferences. If you are either of those employers, the decision was likely easy to make. If you aren’t, consider these two tips:

  1. Ask your employees if they want to return to in-person work. Consider taking a company-wide survey to gauge how the decision could impact workplace happiness. If most of your employees would like to return to in-person work, the decision can become less stressful. If they don’t, you may save yourself from a mass exodus by making them feel like they’re part of this decision-making process, and it may also help with employee morale.
  2. Review employee efficiency. A WFH Research study found 26.9% of employees felt they were just as productive while working from home as they were in the office and 59.5% said they were more productive in some capacity. Has your employee efficiency changed since making the switch? If so, you may want to assess how your decision could impact that side of your business.

Perks of recruiting for remote/hybrid positions

It’s no surprise that today’s candidate-driven hiring market can make it hard to recruit the talent you need. If your company is still open to remote or hybrid work models, that may make recruitment easier. This year’s Morgan Hunter Salary Guide reports flexible work schedules and the ability to work from home are at the top of the list of benefits job applicants are intentionally seeking, alongside job stability and security. Being open to remote and hybrid work options for your company can also expand the recruitment talent pool by attracting those who are open to some in-person work or who live outside of your local area. If you’re not on the hunt for new employees right now, this choice could also help your company retain employees who are prioritizing flexibility and work-life balance.

Tips for employee retention if you’re making the move to in-person

Returning to in-person work can be vital for some companys’ success. Making this choice doesn’t mean you have to miss out on hiring top-of-the-line talent. While the candidate-driven hiring market can make recruitment harder, many candidates still value the workplace culture that comes with in-person work. Consider adding perks like unlimited PTO, flexible work hours or opportunities for continued education to appeal to candidate priorities. In-person offices often have the upper hand on creating a great workplace culture, too. Be sure to showcase your company culture throughout your recruitment process to draw talent in. For more tips on employee retention, read our recent blog post!

Working with a recruiter can be one of the most beneficial tools to navigate the candidate-driven hiring market we’re in now. We’ve built relationships with qualified candidates across the KC area and can help match you with the best talent for your company. I take pride in and providing a reliable, long-time employee for my client companies and helping candidates find the right fit. Whether you’re on the hunt for new candidates or are searching for your next career move, contact our team of recruiters to assist you along the way.

Jeff Olson is a Recruiting Manager with the Accounting & Finance team of Morgan Hunter, serving Kansas City-area employers to help them meet a range of hiring needs, from temporary staffing to direct-hire placements. Share your thoughts on FacebookLinkedIn or on Twitter @MorganHunterCo.