We are very quickly returning to the ‘next normal’ with people returning to their offices, city centres and roads becoming much busier. What has struck me most is that we’ve all experienced the working from home period very differently. I spoke with a good friend of mine that has just returned to working in the office three days per week and his commute is just over two hours each way. I can’t think of anything worse than a two-hour commute! He is happy to go back to the office, as he can focus better and gets more done. For others that I have spoken with they feel they get much more done at home.

The big question is how do, or should, employers devise a policy that is flexible and plays to employee’s strengths and preferences. Some things to consider:

One size does not fit all – Rigid policies that land on exclusively on working in the office or remotely are likely to lead to employee dissatisfaction, decreased communication and increased bureaucracy. The ideal solution is going to be a hybrid blend that meets business requirements and employees needs.

Evaluate what works best for workers and their productivity – The team schedule needs to assure support for internal and external stakeholders, meets needs for flexibility, is fair and efficient and is agreed by everyone. The ability to tailor this to people’s ‘strengths’ and recognise their situation where possible is where the big win will come.

Use technology to be innovative and collaborative – There is a lot of technology out there that can replicate brain storming, project management and also ‘break out rooms’. Use technology to “facilitate touch points that promote innovation through non-traditional interactions.

There is a big opportunity to develop new work policies that empower employees to work that blend their needs and that of the company. Interesting times ahead!