Cape Town office face-time days – do you let employees decide?

Getting a full complement of staff back for peak office face-time days is something that many of us have been looking forward to this year. Many businesses have already implemented a flexi-return, while several large companies have deferred the decision to reopen their premises permanently to 2022.

Getting back to a commercial space that makes us feel more inclusive and collaborative is one of the steps on the road to regaining a normal life. On the other hand, a hybrid working model which might have been working to date, still means that some employees won’t be at their desk every day of the week. 

For managers, this raises an interesting question. Should you allow team members to decide what days they’ll come into work or create a schedule that balances their needs against those of a company that needs to plan regular peak office face-time days?

If you’re trying to decide how to organise your HR and workflow in 2022, here are some points to consider about in-office time and how to make it work for everyone.

The strategic power of flexitime

Letting your team members decide which days they’ll be working from the office may seem like a simple solution, but companies that have already reopened their business premises found that employees don’t just choose their workdays at random. 

Employees tend to choose workdays strategically, especially those who are looking to be promoted or showcase their work to members of management. Some interesting trends that are emerging include:

  • Mondays and Fridays tend to be low status days. One reason for this is the potential to extend the weekend by a day or two, but they’re also the days when managers tend to be busiest and aren’t likely to be available for consultations or notice employees’ good work.
  • In contrast, Tuesdays and Thursdays are extremely popular days for employees to choose to work in-office. On these days, team leaders and members of management are perceived to be less busy and more available – and this could play a big role in the popularity of midweek ‘face-time’ days. 

It’s only natural for team members to vie for the attention of management and senior executives, whether it’s for counselling, skills development, or the chance of a promotion. But too much of a good thing can also backfire.

Allowing team members to choose when they will come into the office could result in everyone crowding in on days when you happen to be there, leaving off-peak days like Monday and Friday overly empty.

As a result, your team may not have enough time to allocate to all members and productivity may suffer as a result. 

Schedule office face-time days around productive events

One way to ensure that you see enough of your team face-to-face is to schedule regular events like strategy meetings and skills development workshops on specific days of the week. Outside of these events, you can let your team choose when to come in on other days. 

Not only will your team come in with a sense of purpose and willingness to learn and collaborate, but you’ll also avoid the phenomenon of face-time for the sake of promotion

While this isn’t a bad thing in itself it also means that other equally talented employees aren’t getting enough attention from you purely because they’re not present when you are. 

Allowing this process to continue could create a sense of unfairness in the team which will affect your ability to retain talent – and might even increase HR issues and interpersonal conflict in the long-term.

Staggering attendance for pandemic safety

A final point that’s worth considering is that the pandemic is not over yet. Going back to the office with a vaccinated team and social distancing measures in place is essential if you’re going to maintain workplace health and safety.

  • Implementing these measures can become extremely difficult in a crowded office, and that’s one of the consequences that may arise from too many employees coming in on the same day as managers. 
  • You may want to consider scheduling both team leaders’ and junior members’ attendance. This will allow you to even out the number of office users on a given day while maintaining a sense of fairness. It will also give members of management ample time to spend with the people they need to mentor and advise. 

Ready to go back to your Cape Town Office with us in 2022?

Once your scheduling is done, you can get on with the essential task of re-opening your business next year. To assist you in this regard, our team of Commercial Space area specialists is on hand to match your business with the ideal commercial property in Cape Town. Contact us today to get started.