Mondays and Fridays are undoubtedly the most popular days to either take the day off or work from home. But what if these days are the best to be in the office?
Hybrid workers – those who mix their week up with some days at home and others on-site – are most likely to want to head into the office or other workplace when they know others will be there to collaborate with, said Sasha D’Arcy from behavioural science consultancy Inventium.
“There’s no quicker recipe for resentment than commuting two hours a day to sit at a hot desk and not interact with any colleagues,” she said.
Return-to-work mandates, like the one imposed by Tesla boss Elon Musk, have proved widely unpopular. But if employers do want to have certainty about which days their staff are going to be on site, they should do their homework first, said D’Arcy.
“It’s always best practice to collect data, so if you’re making a stance on days required to be in the office, take some benchmark measures of productivity, engagement, wellbeing, job commitment and so on, run a six-month trial, collect more data and then make a data-informed decision about what to do next,” she said.
Most employees are likely to be in the workplace in the middle of the week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – while weekend bookend days Mondays and Fridays are more likely to be spent working from home.
However, the start of each week is an ideal time for teams to get together to talk about expectations and set goals, making Monday a perfect time to be at the workplace.
And depending on the industry and nature of a business, Fridays can often be a slower-paced day of the week so it’s an opportune day to plan work reviews and even team-bonding activities.
On-site requirements differ for every organisation, but bringing workers together is a priority for employers because it drives culture, collaboration and innovation, said Jo Jakobs, NSW director at recruitment firm Randstad.
“There could be very legitimate reasons why a company might require their employees to work in an office setting Monday to Friday,” she said.
“But it’s important to balance this desire for hybrid working arrangements with the reality of the operating context of the business and the needs of its customers.”
Jakobs said employers need to balance the on-site requirements of their organisation with the freedom of flexibility most workers are now accustomed to.
“We know that workers perform best when they feel valued and respected in the workplace and hybrid working is a valuable part of this equation,” she said.
“To make this approach work, there needs to be clear expectation setting and management between employers and employees with clear, transparent communication to ensure accountability.”