Most of us can vividly recall the nervous feeling right before our teachers would take attendance in class. Sitting straight up in your chair, waiting to hear your name, followed by your prepared response, “present!” If there was no response when our name was called, you know a call to Mom and Dad was going to be made shortly after. Where is Eric this time?
For some, this is actually what the return to the workplace looks like these days. And while it could be the fastest way to lose trust and engagement with your team, taking attendance might actually be a good thing.
At first glance, of course, taking attendance is absolutely ridiculous. A simple roll call seems not only counterproductive, but also demeaning. Attendance? Really? It seems like we’re being micromanaged, viewed under a microscope, have someone breathing down our backs… you get it. However, if we rethink how we view employees coming into work and what they need, if we take attendance to understand the ins and outs of our offices, we may better understand how to create the best experience at work possible. Taking attendance could be the best opportunity to figure out what’s working and what’s not. Not to micromanage, but to optimize
It isn’t that attendance should be mandatory, it is that presence and office utilization should be measured. Data should be collected. Not for the sake of management, but for the sake of understanding. After all, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Do we really need the same office space we did in the past? Do we use the office the same way? Let’s find out!
But this should come with a warning; if the intention of tracking attendance is to micromanage, trust will last about as long as a sandcastle in a hurricane. No one likes their boss peering over their shoulder and keeping tabs on them. Trust is an essential part of work; taking attendance can build that trust ONLY if used to understand the needs and wants of your office.
While we’re at it, shouldn’t we also measure trust, belonging, and satisfaction? In light of the aftermath of The Great Resignation, shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to measure the effectiveness and needs of our employees? There is a reason- – or hundreds, why our people don’t want to come back into the office. Let’s ask them why. If we can compare where we are today versus where we were yesterday and continually improve it, the future of work is certainly something we can look forward to rather than attempt to shy away from. But we can only move forward if we know how to, and we can only do that if we measure what our people need. The future of work depends on it.
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