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Is It More Important to Have In-Person or Happy Employees?

Choose your battles.
Emily Hill
Contributing Writer

The early promise of remote work, which offered increased productivity for employers and greater flexibility for employees, has fallen short of expectations. Recent studies reveal that productivity has not experienced a substantial uptick, particularly for those working entirely remotely. Despite these findings, a majority of employers have embraced remote work options. While some companies persist in urging employees to return to in-person work, others have adopted a more accepting stance, acknowledging the “new normal” of remote work.

This accommodating approach taken by companies has contributed to a happier workforce, as work-life balance continues to gain prominence over career advancement in the eyes of employees. Worker satisfaction has risen to the highest we have seen since 1987, according to The Conference Board. This upturn isn’t attributed to increased job fulfillment but rather to the reduced intrusion of work into their personal lives.

Why it matters: The evolving dynamics of remote work and shifting work values have important implications for employers and the workforce. As employees place increased emphasis on work-life balance and nonmonetary benefits, such as paid leave and flexible hours, employers will need to adapt their strategies to retain talent.

  • The discrepancy between employee perception of remote work productivity and management’s assessment highlights the need for effective communication and collaboration strategies in remote work settings.
  • The past few years have reshaped work attitudes, emphasizing work-life balance and nonmonetary benefits, leading to a reevaluation of productivity, remote work, and the essential link between employee happiness and retention.
  • While there’s a potential decline in productivity due to remote work challenges, some argue that cost savings, flexibility, and employee preferences could solidify the remote work shift, even in the face of economic uncertainty.

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