More companies are ordering workers to return to the office, some even threatening to fire those who don’t comply and deny them severance.
Bosses believe the benefits of workers in the office overwhelmingly outweigh the trend to work from home that began for health safety reasons when the coronavirus pandemic broke out in early 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Workers in an office are more productive, better able to solve problems and capable of tackling critical projects, employers say. Traditional work enables workers to hone capabilities, collaborate as a team and benefit from the corporate culture, they add.
Last but not least, workers enjoy the camaraderie.
Vanguard believes its highest performers already have returned to work and that a hybrid work environment isn’t fair to those who have returned to the office.
Vanguard is one of the companies where managers have told employees that if they don’t comply with its return-to-office policy in the coming weeks, they will be terminated and forfeit severance.
“Uneven and inconsistent adoption has created inequalities in how the model is applied and has made it difficult to realize the benefits of in-person learning, collaboration and connection,” reads one Vanguard memo to employees.
Leading New York investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, have been among the strictest employers when it comes to returning to work.
After months of “cajoling” employees in 2022, Goldman Sachs’ offices are “operating pretty close to the way we operated before the pandemic,” Goldman CEO David Solomon told the WSJ CEO Summit in December.
Some employers, like LifePro Financial Services in San Diego, Calif., are telling candidates up front that there is no leeway when it comes to being on the job, on site, “100%.”
Other employers are still trying to coax their employees back, which is not surprising since 50% of offices in 10 major U.S. cities were unoccupied in 2022, according to security firm Kastle Systems.
Employers who are losing their patience with empty desks are hoping to reverse that in 2023.
For now, “There’s a little bit of a tug of war going on,” says David Garfield, global head of industries at AlixPartners, a consultancy that has been working with companies on the problem of getting workers back into offices. “Employers are not having an easy time of it.”
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