Why force the issue?

Companies around the world are forcing their employees back to the office, against their will.

Remember when your Mom forced you to wear a dress but you wanted to wear jeans, or when your Dad forced you to take a nap and you weren’t tired? 

How happy did you feel being forced to do something against your will? 

With the pandemic behind us, some companies are starting to force their employees back to the office 4 or 5 days a week. 

Over the last few years, millions of employees in companies around the world learned how to productively contribute to the operation of their organizations while working from home and we learned there were some upsides including; more time for sleep, exercise, hobbies, family, and friends.   

  • We also felt some potential downsides to remote work, including a lack of mentorship for new or junior teammates and a lack of in-person human connection which can potentially negatively impact culture (although it doesn’t have to).  

But why force people back against their will? I believe with a little creativity there are flexible solutions that will help meet the needs of both employees and the organization.  Consider: 

1. How many in-person days are really needed each week? 

  • Instead of mandating 4 or 5 days a week in the office, consider might 2 or 3 days suffice.  
  • This flexibility will ensure some in-person human connection happens and provide time for some in-person mentorship and coaching, while also providing occasional upside of remote work 
  • Some employees will still opt to be in person 5 days a week, but others will appreciate the flexibility of choice 

2. Provide full remote work flexibility and autonomy two months a year.

  • Why does your new in-person work schedule need to be for the full year?  
  • Why not provide your team the option to choose two months each year when they have full flexibility to work from wherever they choose?  
  • Some will prefer the same routine – while others, may take this opportunity to work from a family cottage in the summer, or perhaps opt to live and work from a foreign country for a month or two.  

Of course, certain rules may need to be put in place around booking and planning people’s schedules in advance, but providing options will have your team feeling respected and also ensure that in-person mentorship and camaraderie occur throughout the majority of the year.   

As the owner of my own company, I’ve been enjoying the flexibility of remote work for over 15-20 years now. And now that my team has gotten to enjoy the same flexibility and shown themselves to still be passionate about our purpose, share our company values, and drive towards our vision, I feel it would be rather hypocritical to take this flexibility away from them. 

Organizations that choose to force their employees back against their desires, with little flexibility or options, will inevitably lose good people to their competition. 

Companies with great workplace cultures, know to treat their people as priority.

To watch my video on this topic click here: https://youtu.be/UX8wLF6b0Ng

PLAY creates lives.

PLAY creates friendships…and lives! 

Levi Cooperman is the co-founder of FreshBooks, that little Canadian start-up that achieved unicorn status a year or so ago, and he credits playing with JAM for his marriage and beautiful two daughters. 

Here is the story, in Levi’s own words: 

“It was the summer of 2003 when Naama and I first started playing ultimate frisbee together with JAM, and that team sparked our relationship. 

I believe it was a Tuesday or Thursday night team, and I think it was one of the first iterations of our team called Banana Cream Pie.  I invited Naama out to play and I don’t think she had ever played ultimate before then.  

We obviously hit it off on the field and, of course, even more so when socializing at the pubs over nachos and beers after the games.  

We started dating that fall and were never apart from that point forward. We got married in the summer of 2007 and now have a family of four. I’ve always been a loyal player and a big fan of JAM!” 

In addition to playing with JAM on a personal level, Levi, and his team at FreshBooks, have always cared deeply about the culture and their people finding ways to integrate play into the workplace. 

Over the last decade, FreshBooks has provided its staff with the opportunity to play a variety of sports like dodgeball, floor hockey, and softball on company teams in our JAM sports leagues. And they have also participated in several JAM virtual team-bonding events like Scavenger Hunts, Trivia and Survey Says. 

It is no surprise that FreshBooks has been recognized with many awards over the years including making the prestigious Canada’s Top 100 Employers list, being certified as a Great Place to Work – Canada, and being named to Greater Toronto’s Top Employers list.  

This intentional commitment to play has provided FreshBooks with a great opportunity for their team to strengthen friendships in the workplace, and it helped Levi find the love of his life! 

Levi’s story is not unique. Over the last 27 years, thousands of marriages and beautiful relationships have formed, and in turn, babies have been born, thanks to people connecting through play with JAM over the last 27 years!  

Wanna feel all the feels of more of JAM’s love stories? Read more from a sampling of our favorites here: www.kristiherold.com/lovestories

And if you know someone who met their love match playing with JAM (formerly Sport & Social Club) please share in the comments below – we would love to hear more!