Frustrated by Return-to-Office Policies? 

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on return-to-work policies the image shows a woman looking up wistfully at an office building.

Are you in a workplace that is changing their return-to-office policies? It’s a topic that I have been discussing more often recently with my clients.

I recently received a call from a friend whose company is turning the screws on going back to work in the office. For her and many others, this transition presents a significant hardship due to geographical disparities between team members and the office. Whether it’s resistance from employees or managerial struggles to enforce a return, I’ve heard the frustrations from all sides.

As I have been contemplating this, there is one message that I would like to get across regarding return-to-work policies. Regardless of whether you’re an employee frustrated by your company’s policies or a manager dealing with resistance, this is a chance to redefine success in your roles.

Start by engaging in open conversations with your managers or direct reports. What does success look like in your role? What outcomes matter the most? Perhaps it’s not about how many hours you spend in the office but rather meeting crucial deliverables on time.

Managers, instead of fixating on physical presence, assess how your employees are contributing as leaders and team players. Are they accessible? Are they effectively managing their teams, whether local or remote? Concentrate on evaluating their performance against predetermined objectives.

The return-to-work debate often disguises deeper frustrations about productivity and results. The key is to establish clear expectations and measurements for success. What defines productivity in your role, and how can it be quantified?

As we’re halfway through the year, now is an excellent time for employees and managers to reevaluate goals. Are the objectives set in January still the most critical? What additional elements of success should be considered? Engage in constructive dialogues to realign expectations.

While these discussions may not change immediate return-to-office policies, they lay the foundation for understanding and collaboration. They help establish a shared vision of what success entails and how it can be achieved.

Read More: How Much is Workplace Autonomy Worth To You?

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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