Can I Force My Team to All Work at Home?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

The issue of returning to work is obviously a big one for many advisory teams. We are a team of 11 people who all get along pretty well and are also doing fine virtually. Recently we polled our team and asked if everyone would prefer to work virtually over the long term. We had nine, “yes, absolutely!” responses and two “no, would not prefer at all.” The two people who do not want to work virtually have their reasons. One has a very difficult home situation and has been very stressed having to work at home. The other lost his spouse a year ago and the loneliness is tough on him. His entire social life is at work.

As the owner of the practice, I’m hoping our real estate could shrink considerably. With 11 people, we occupy a nice downtown space in a major city. If my team all wanted to work virtually, I could essentially eliminate the space. We could rent a conference room to meet with clients, but that would be rare. Our model is to go to the client or conduct the meetings virtually. We were doing this long before COVID-19 because of the location of our clients.