If you’ve ever had the opportunity to run an organization, you know that change happens. There’s a full spectrum of changes – from easy changes to difficult changes.
The easy changes are what we call cosmetic changes. They require the minimum amount of effort, time, sacrifice, communication, funding and commitment. These types of changes do not have long-term positive impact and are usually there for a quick hit of dopamine. Aesthetics. Vanity.
These changes also focus on the external and hopes that it gets to the internal – the hearts and minds of people.
The difficult changes are what we call critical changes. These changes require a significant amount of effort, time, sacrifice, communication, funding and commitment. These types of changes have a long-term positive impact and are usually there for the betterment of the entire organization even if it hurts for the next 6 months to a year.
These changes also focus on the internal – the hearts and minds of people and grows out to the external behavior and attitude. These changes affect the culture at large.
Work From Home or Office – or Both?
When I and my executive committee declared our entire organization to work from home even before the lockdowns started last March 2020, I knew it was going to cost the company greatly.
It would cost our team’s morale, it would cost us paying rent without having to use the office space for an unforeseen amount of time, it would cost having to learn new communications channel and investing in more platforms that would help us through this season of working from home.
But most of all, I knew that it would cost the company because we knew some people would cling to this change and be entitled to the benefit of working from home in their hearts and minds instead of maintaining it for what it really is – a benefit that we give to our people.
Such a decision to Work From Home until the pandemic is over would be very difficult to make for other organizations but at SEO Hacker, we put our people first so it was not really an excruciating decision for us to declare WFH even before the lockdowns started.
However, now that we are preparing to go back to the office, we have experienced resistance and what I feared the most has surfaced – that some people see it as something to cling to and be entitled with instead of seeing it as a benefit that we gave for a temporary amount of time.
While it’s true that going back to the office would mean more expenses for the SEO Hacker team member in terms of commute and food, it will also cost the company more as we pay more in office operating expenses such as drinking and tap water, electricity, toilet and cleaning supplies, office cleaning staff, and so on.
However, the costs of not operating in the office as a team again is even higher. Not being in the office will mean that team morale will continue to stagnate or even lower as less and less people have the time to really meet and talk face to face, it will mean that the efficiency and quality of our operations will not improve and break-through to what we need it to be, it will mean that the quality and timeliness of our communications will not be at its peak, and it will make for a team that is not as strong in terms of the bond between people.
A weaker bond will result to a weaker team long-term. That will result to a less happier team as well – which will result to less happier clients.
The call to go back to the office is a difficult and critical change. It will cost the company a lot of money. Compared to working from home, it will also cost the team members more in expenses (commute and food – which is the norm pre-pandemic) but looking forward, it is the best decision for the entire company as we value organizational health – and grow and expand our borders so that we can provide an overall better livelihood to our people – and give back to the economy at large.