Leaders Need to Reframe the Return-to-Office Conversation | Harvard Business Review

Leadership & Culture

I recently shared an update on how 14 organizations have modified their return-to-office (RTO) mandates. These updates include increasing the number of required in-office days, restricting specific days for remote work, and incorporating workers’ compliance with RTO mandates into performance reviews, to name a few. Organizations have communicated their RTO announcements in various ways, with varying degrees of effectiveness. A new HBR article by Amy C. Edmondson and Mark Mortensen discusses the importance of “framing” when communicating RTO. “Framing refers to how an issue is presented; it’s the meaning layered onto an issue or situation that shapes how people think about its objective facts. More precisely, it’s about re-framing: deliberately replacing taken-for-granted cognitive frames with more helpful ones.” The article shares three steps for how leaders can reframe their narratives as they create and communicate flexible work policies. One step is approaching the RTO process as data-driven, co-created, iterative learning. With this as the backdrop, I am resharing a white paper and 2) a PDF presentation by Cisco, which describes the company’s data-driven approach to inform, communicate, and evolve their decisions on RTO and hybrid work.