You’re probably bombarded with articles telling you to work from home, office and/ or flexibly. Here are a couple of twists. Firstly it considers the third of your workforce most people don’t talk about (your introverts). Secondly it’s based on details in a survey1 of 1,500 remote workers (thanks to Zoom and SurveyMonkey). As you decide where to work, how will you manage that?
Get your office ready for when it’s safe to use.
Most leaders and business owners have a preference for mainly office working2. So, the good news is that most people surveyed are looking forward to returning to the office (when they believe it’s safe).
BUT about two-thirds (65%)1 would rather have a mixture of home and office work, with an even split on “mostly from home” or “mostly from the office”. Add that to the 20% who want to work from the office, and you have a majority for the office. That’s good, but not as simple as it used to be? Did you see the article about people investing in a shoffice?
What about introverts and working from home?
It was a myth; lockdown was not the ‘year of the introvert‘. Like everybody else introverts need social contact, don’t assume introverts all want to work from home. However, many introverts recognise the benefits by different type of work they’re doing and introverts are flexible. 30% of introverts didn’t state a preference for home or office and 50% like the idea of flexible working2.
To make it work well consider how you manage people at home/ office/ flexible.
What about meetings?
Meetings are the cornerstone of communication in most businesses (and a lot of company culture derives from them too). 70%2 of people think we spend too much time in them, but they can serve a purpose.
If you are going have your team working from home and from office, it could be a time to rethink “the meeting”. THis shouldn’t be an issues as very few people think meetings are wonderful, that shouldn’t be an issue! How will you repurpose and change the meetings you run?
Things to reconsider about your meetings.
I’m biased, but I will suggest reading “Running Meetings that make things happen“, but failing that.
- What the purpose of the meeting? For a meeting to be worthwhile it needs a clear objective. Why are you getting all these people together? Is a video or email more effective for the majority?
- Who should be in the meeting? If it’s a meeting to discuss issues and resolve them, it’s only worth including those who can add to that discussion. It would be a good idea to have more shorter meetings with less people (but more relevant people) in each. The meetings will probably run more quickly, saving your and your whole team time.
- Where the meeting is located. Let’s return to this in a moment, as the survey led to some interesting thoughts.
- How long the meeting should be? Don’t just assume it should be 20 minutes because it always is, what’s the time needed? Then consider the location, what’s the maximum time you can sensibly engage that audience on zoom/teams/ office?
What type of meeting and where?
The survey1 went on to consider the preferred meeting location by type of meeting.
- Large group meetings, 61% of remote workers would prefer to attend virtually compared to 31% of workers who would prefer to come into the office
- Small team/ project meetings, it’s evenly split
- New clients meeting. Remote workers were more likely to prefer in-person (69%), as opposed to a third who preferred taking these meetings virtually from home (31%)
If you’re running meetings with large teams, you may be best having them run remotely, with some people in the office. It sounds like people’s expectation of useful interaction is low, so they’re happy with the remote approach.
If you’re running small meetings, there’s more of an expectation of interaction. If that’s the case then then run them in an office where you can, if you can’t (or they’re hybrid meetings) focus a lot more on the interactions.
If it’s a new client meeting, go for face to face, or on the client’s preference.
It may seem a bit boring but 75% of people prefer structured meetings2, so it’s time to get better at structuring your meetings. By the way, this structure preference includes introverts and extroverts.
Introverts expressed a stronger preference for structure than extroverts and a stronger preference for structure in remote meetings. That makes sense when you think about internal processing and different communication preferences.
So plan the meeting, stick to the plan and check people know where they are in the plan.
- Survey by Zoom and Survey Monkey
- Survey by Jon Baker