Covid-19 altered the way we work, with pandemic restrictions forcing millions of office workers to stay home and out of the office, juggling a new normal of remote and hybrid work arrangements. This July, according to WFH Research, a monthly data project from economists at Stanford and the University of Chicago, over 40% of full-time employees are working from home at least one day a week. However, as restrictions ease, companies are making a concerted effort to have employees return to the office. Even Zoom, the video communications company that exploded during Covid-19 and relied on work from home policies, instituted a back to office requirement for many of its employees.
Major Companies Instituting Return to Office Efforts:
Many more companies have joined Zoom in return to office initiatives this summer with some taking more hardline approaches, while others are focusing on softer approaches to safeguard against intense backlash from employees.
- Amazon: Amazon announced in February that it will require corporate employees to ensure a three day in-person work week starting in May. This was met with fierce resistance with hundreds of employees walking out to protest the return to office initiative.
- Apple: Apple faced similar resistance with a petition signed by corporate employees protesting their return to office requirements after Apple announced at least a three day in-person work week.
- Google: Google is also requiring a three day in-person work week and is trying to crack down on dissent, enabling managers to account for unauthorized absences from the workplace when evaluating employee performance.
- Blackrock: The New York City based investment management company is requiring employees return to the office four days a week starting in September in their newly leased office space in Hudson Yards.
- Goldman Sachs: This investment firm is requiring employees to return to the office five days a week.
- Salesforce: The titan of business software said that for ten days in June it would donate $10 to charity every day on behalf of each employee who comes to work.
Why Companies Want Employees Back in the Office:
With so many companies shifting towards fully in-person offices, it’s important to understand the reasons behind this return to office push. Companies such as Blackrock that have offices in large metropolitan cities can’t afford to have their buildings sit empty. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been pushing for federal return to office initiatives for this very reason with many downtown D.C. buildings enduring occupancy rates that are slightly below half of pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, CEOs and corporate leaders believe that in-person work fosters more camaraderie and collaboration and increases productivity. There is less of a chance for spontaneous interactions that can fuel ideas and innovation in an online setting with more of a chance of getting distracted by non-work-related activities. It’s also easier to build trust, and mentor relationships with the people around you than through a computer screen. While remote work proved that it is possible to do business from home, some found it challenging to continue the same level of productivity outside of the conventional office setting.
If you are struggling with staffing as you implement a in-office work policy post pandemic, contact us. We are here to work with you for all your staffing needs.