Our CEO has thrown a bit of a curve ball into the mix today, and has suggested that, after three years of successfully working to a very flexible hybrid model of working (1 - 2 days per week from the office and the rest of the week from home), he wants everyone to work 3 - 4 days each week from the office from October. His main reason for this is down to a (perceived) lack of team spirit and that other business owners he has spoken to recently have enforced a return to the office. He has shared his thoughts with the senior management team for further discussion later in the week, and so this has not yet been announced to the wider business.
Whilst I am not totally against this, and personally I enjoy working from the office as well as from home and can see the merits of hybrid working, I am worried about the wider reaction to this if it is indeed enforced. Our current hybrid working policy states at least one day from the office per week to be agreed with the line manager, or head of department, and therefore everyone has enjoyed a very flexible approach since we emerged from the pandemic.
Personally, I do not necessarily feel there has been a detrimental effect on 'team spirit' in all the time we have worked to this hybrid policy, and worry that this change in direction could be misinterpreted as a lack of trust from senior management (ie the CEO) and could lead to a hugely negative impact on engagement levels, morale and team spirit.
Has anyone else had experience of moving towards more office-based working in the last year or so, and if so, how did you communicate this in a positive way, and what steps did you take to ensure employee engagement levels were not jeopardised during the transition and afterwards?