What your employees really want when they ask to work from home.

The main job of a manager or anyone in HR is to listen. Listen to what people need, what people want, how things are going. When I was a manager, my goal as the leader of a team was to remove blocks so that people could do their job to the best of their ability.

But having the mindset that it’s our role to overcome any challenges can leads us to rush into fixing mode at the first request we hear vs. really listening for the deeper need someone is asking to be met… which they don’t even know they’re asking for.

Recently I was speaking at an event on the top trends in HR and professional development, and one of the trends being shared was the request to work from home. Employees are asking for flexible schedules or full-time work-from-home scenarios.

Yet, as a coach I know that community and human connection is incredibly important in order for people to feel whole and fulfilled. And as an entrepreneur and now CEO, I remember how it felt to go from office life to solo-preneur working from home: It gets lonely.

And that’s not just how I feel. Now over 1 million people work from a co-working space and the number of co-working spaces in the US has doubled since 2015 (Statista). About 40% of these people are freelancers, 60% remote workers. The gender split is also almost equal, 44/56 women to men. The Collective Gain office is in a coworking space, too. In fact, every single person around us in our co-working space are those who can “work from home” and yet they choose to pay for an office… a place to come that’s dedicated to their work (89% of people who cowork reported being happier).

So what is the real desire?

Is it really fewer distractions? (The #1 reason employees say they want to WFH according to a FlexJobs survey of 3,000 people is they feel home provides fewer distractions) Ask most people who have worked from home and they’ll say the opposite; there are too many distractions.

After speaking to hundreds of people beginning one of our coaching programs it has become clear to me what employees really want. It’s FREEDOM.

When they quit, it's often that they want freedom of creation or expression. When the ask to work from home, it's freedom to live their life. Freedom to be who