Remember, your employees are adults.
I start this post with something obvious. Something you already know.
And the reason I start with something you already know, is just to remind you of what you already know. It's the best preface I can think of for this topic.
My caveat is this. I can only go back as far as 1996 with the following statement: there appears to be less acceptance of this. The workplace bears an uncanny resemblance to The Matrix.
Take the below image of the "fields". You can clearly see where the roles of executive, manager/supervisor, and low level worker are.
I'm absolutely a fan of hierarchy in the workplace. I personally believe that structure is vital, and any business who tries to obfuscate structure is going to end up dysfunctional in the long run. It's not what I would ever advocate.
Instead, I want to take this opportunity to discuss what I refer to as the Flexible Occupational Hybrid (FOH) model.
To explain this model, picture your current situation. Your business either has its workers mostly working from home, or mostly working in an office. It's unusual (but not impossible) to have a perfect 50/50 separation of people working from home versus in the office.
Each business will have their answer to the question of "why" they situate one way or another. But have you ever questioned the opposite?
So if you're on the side of the table that requires employees to come into an office for a full 8-hour day, the question is why?
Suppose I were to tell you that the vast majority of those that work for you don't need to be in the office for that amount of time. Suppose I could prove to you that in terms of actual work, the majority of your people are actively engaged in value-driven work for half the day each day. Would you still want the worker to be in the cubicle at the office for the full eight hours?
If your answer is yes, it's likely because you are paying a salary to those workers for their availability, not based on the time they spend doing value-driven work.
If your answer is no, you likely have some sort of timesheet utility to track how much time they spend doing specific types of work; and that utility likely has nothing to do with your payroll system (which requires a different type of timesheet).
In either situation, we also want to question whether physical presence is necessary for whatever work that they are doing. This is where time starts to become more a contentious point.
On the employee's side, they have to manage their personal time in balance with the time they dedicate to the work. This tends to be difficult when they have an extensive commute; and many business' office spaces exist in expensive areas.
With the FOH model, you empower the employees to determine when and where the work gets done, as long as it gets done on time. That means that all of their work must have clear objectives, deadlines and value.
This may sound like a radical suggestion, but in the context that these are adults we're dealing with, it deserves strong consideration. That said, if you don't believe such a model can work, do reach out. We're always happy to have the conversation.