WFH: Why fight home-offices?

wfh office

Source: Adobe Stock.

The 2021 ‘Great Resignation’ is far from over. According to one of the largest global employee surveys, one in five workers plan to quit their jobs this year. When asked about what motivates them to change jobs, being able to choose when and where to work were ranked as ‘very important’. 

Yet, we’re seeing many companies push for compulsory office return policies, despite 56% of employees in Asia-Pacific making it clear that they want flexible work, with options to work both in the office and remotely. 

This begs the question — why are so many companies still adamant about employees returning to the office when talent is at stake?  

The pandemic demonstrated that employees can be just as productive and successful when working, away from the office. One study showed 85% of Australians reported being equally or more productive when working from home. This is higher than the global average of 82%.

3M Australia & New Zealand HR Operations Leader, Janice Nicholas says, more importantly, it has taught us the need to trust our employees to deliver their best work regardless of their way of working, and the importance of communicating that trust. 

Read more about how 3M is improving lives and enhancing 3Mers’ lives through flexible work arrangements around the world

Invest more resources into virtual onboarding success

Many naysayers of flexible and remote work often bring up the difficulty of virtual onboarding for new talent. Helping new hires pick up your organisation’s procedures, and team culture can be challenging. Doing it entirely online adds another layer of complexity. 

This is an understandable perspective, but it is the wrong one to have if you want to continue to attract talent in today’s tight workforce.  

Organisations must figure out effective onboarding procedures to help new employees adapt quickly, even if they choose to work remotely. We live in the age of technology, and after two years of lockdown everyone can operate Zoom — think of how to use this to your advantage.

Think about how you can create employee guides, videos, or schedule formal and informal meetings with team members.  

Additionally, dedicated networking programs for new joiners can help them make connections and learn about the company culture.

Most important, remember, embedding the work from anywhere attitude is vital to its success and your company culture. If you as a leader elect to implement a ‘Work Your Way’ policy, as 3M did in 2021, you must commit wholeheartedly. Create opportunities for staff to choose the work model right for them, implement moments to formally assess how the arrangement is going with your employee and team. Mirror the process throughout the whole organisation. Connect all members of the team, remote and in person, regularly. If you are doing it, do it right.

The future of work — let employees work their way 

When managed well, allowing employees to choose how they want to work should not affect business continuity. Offering trust-based, flexible models of working is the way forward.

We are seeing employees have the opportunity to find what is right for them, and with this a real increase in both productivity and work-life balance. With onsite, hybrid, and remote options available, Work Your Way is helping 3Mers add value to their work and their personal lives with increased flexibility. No longer are people wasting time commuting to and from work.

And the proof is in the pudding. We have seen increased tinker time and creativity because of this change, proving working from anywhere can provide benefits to all employees who want to embrace it. 

Instead of focusing on getting our employees back in the office, let’s find more ways to empower our employees and give them the autonomy and work life balance to live their best lives.


Since 1902, 3M has evolved into a global powerhouse driven by innovation and integrity. With sales in approximately 200 countries, we strive to help our customers solve today’s challenges and prepare for the future. We aim to create a more positive world through science by delivering innovative solutions that deliver value. In Australia, our team connects customers with 3M solutions to advance Australian companies, enhance Australian homes and improve Australian lives.

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