A new report out by McKinsey suggests that there is a huge disconnect between executives who assume their employees will come back to the office and what employees are prepared to do. Three-quarters of C-Suite executive core surveyed expected staff to be in the office at least three days a week, whereas more than half of 5000 employees surveyed globally wanted to continue to work remotely at least three days a week. The consultancy firm warn that “tone-deafness” of messaging may cause many more employees to leave – as many as 40% workers globally McKinsey say are thinking of leaving their current employer in 2021.

Instead McKinsey call on employers to look beyond the immediate need to get employees back in the office to exploring new business models that will serve employees and the business alike in the post-pandemic work. Deeper listening and meeting employees where they are, acknowledging that leaders don’t have all the answers and being willing to experiment and learn from the outcomes of these experiments is the way forward.

  • What is your view of what work is done better in person? Virtually?
  • How do you see hybrid meetings working in practice?
  • How can influence and experience be balanced between those who work on-site and those that don’t?
  • How do you avoid a two-tier system in which people working in the office are valued and rewarded more than those who don’t?

All leaders will need to try new things and communicate their new working norms. HR will have to create new policies and structures to support. If we thought remote working was hard, expect hybrid working to be even more fluid and complex!

Helping teams listen deeply to each other is a specialism of ours. We have a deep democracy process which we can use virtually or (after 19 July) in person with you to explore these sensitive issues with one another in a way that creates true psychological safety and helps the unspoken concerns get out and be heard. Email ros@rostoynbee.com to have a conversation about how you could raise levels of engagement and keep valuable staff by the way you handle this next transition.