Organizational leaders want employees in the office. This is a reasonable request. There is evidence to suggest that team interactions is harder (but not impossible) in remote work settings.
Employees want the flexibility to work from home or the office as they see fit. This is also a reasonable request. Employees are just as productive (if not more) when they have the autonomy to decide how best to reduce distractions.
The result is typically a compromise: hybrid work. In many cases, this entails employer-mandated days (typically 3, sometimes 2) where employees must be in the office, with the remaining days at the discretion of the employees.
Compromise, however, is not the ideal solution. This entails meeting in the middle. Conflict management 101 highlights that the ideal is creating collaborative, win-win solutions.
Organizations need to work much harder at figuring out whether there are opportunities for expanding the size of the pie, not cutting it in half. Perhaps training in virtual communication and team building can overcome remote work challenges. Perhaps employees can earn their flexibility through high-quality work or by forgoing bonuses.
Theres’ not enough evidence yet to suggest these solutions. But we do need to get more creative. Compromise isn’t enough. Collaboration is ideal.