However, with the labor market having turned around, some of these distant agreements no longer apply to certain companies. The slowdown in technology and the looming threat of economic instability means employee retention is no longer a top priority, especially with job cuts. Employers now have more leverage to force their employees back to the office. “If an employee doesn’t like a new work arrangement, layoffs mean they’re probably much less confident that another position awaits them,” says Cooper.
This is true even if the demand for flexibility among workers remains strong. A December 2022 survey of 10,992 US employees shows that 30.6% would like to work from home full-time. And the option of flexibility has even changed the lives of workers: some have extended their working hours to become non-linear, or have developed models to achieve a better work-life balance based on their virtual work routines. . Some workers even walked away from the ride to the office.
Still, “tech companies have started to slowly impose mandates to try to lengthen workdays,” says Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University. “The layoffs will certainly have accelerated this: employees worried about layoffs are now much more likely to come into the office on the days they are supposed to be working.”
Explain back-to-office mandates
Aware that employees may be unhappy with the changes, some have stopped referring to the changes as “back to the office” and instead referred to them as “flexible and mindful working”, for example.
But as the labor-friendly job market continues to deteriorate, this type of soft corporate message has lost some of its relevance, as it becomes easier to replace an employee than they do. It was at the height of the hiring crisis. Workers know it too, says Cooper. This means that if their boss tells them to return to the office five days a week – whatever managers call the policy – employees must comply or risk losing their jobs.
Executives who force employees back into the office could end up losing their best talent. But for management at least, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks. Some companies are willing to spend more time and resources getting their employees back into the workplace more regularly – or finding new ones to do so. “It shows how much they value that personal interaction and style of leadership,” says Hancock. “In a way they saw that some elements were lost during Covid and that’s a way to get some of that back.”
In addition to wanting workers for professional reasons, some experts, including Wendy Hamilton, CEO of the Michigan-based TechSmith Corporation, suspect some bosses are forgoing the chance to secretly downsize after a spell of overemployment. For. She believes employees who want to stay away can show up through the virtual door — and in some cases, employers won’t budge to replace them.
#Companies #returning #flexible #working
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