Workers are being asked to return to work

Workers are being asked to return to work!

Ever since the Pandemic hit the United States and the whole world in general, workers have been working from their homes remotely. This setup also changed the way new and old employees worked, and many offices had a noticeable amount of empty desks in them.

While many employers and big companies like Apple and Google are requesting that their employees return to their desks, either to go back to the pre-pandemic office settings or the hybrid model, it is been a rather bumpy road with differing results.

Do workers really need to return to work?

Workers who have been rather more productive working from home than when they were in offices at their workplace. According to several studies, “…over the past few months productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive.”

These results have indicated that working from home is sufficient enough in businesses that have not accrued any loss in productivity compared to when workers were at their desks. It, therefore, questions why workers are being asked to return to work. Could there be an ulterior motive on the side of employers?

One of the issues raised by the experts about remote work is that it retards development, especially that of younger employees. Many young employees have a lot to learn from executives and more experienced co-workers, and most of them have decided to stay back home without any reason. The fact that younger employees cannot learn from the experience of other employees from physical interactions limit innovations and encourages mediocrity and loss of clear vision of the company’s culture.

According to a recent US Poll, 61% of remote workers do not want to return to work, while 39% are willing to return to their desks. With a breakdown, 44% of workers do not want to return to work because they love working from home and think it suits them while 17% have taken this stance due to the fear of COVID-19.

Now it all boils down to the question of the necessity of this move by the employers. At present, the rate of inflation in the US is 8.5%. This is only a minor improvement from the all-time high of 9.1% reported in June; the worst in 40 years in United States history.

Things are getting costlier daily, and workers are not getting a raise from their jobs. The work-from-home setting gave most people the benefit of saving the percentage of their income previously used to commute to and from the job. They have been spread to cover other expenses like the hike in prices of goods and services.

Sadly, inflation has also affected the cost of commuting. But workers are being asked to return to work and they have no idea how to make this work with the current state of their income, and the hiked cost of living.

Many workers who have been forced to return to work are seriously ‘quiet quitting‘ because they find no reason to return to work in their physical offices for the same job they were handling effectively from their homes. Some employees are thinking of quitting their jobs to find companies that offer more work flexibility to their workers.

The bewildering thing is the double standard involved in the return to work policies. Even though the bosses are requiring all employees to return to the office, they are not following the same rules themselves. They choose to decide their work can be done remotely while lower employees need to do the same remote works they had been doing in their workplace. This might be totally unnecessary.

According to a survey by FutureForum, 80% and 94% of workers want flexibility on where and when they work respectively. Going forward by ethnicity on how workers prefer fully remote or hybrid works, 80% Asian/ Asian American, 83% Black, 81% Latinx/Hispanic, and 79% White voted in favor. That leaves the majority of people advocating for work flexibility to be the minorities.

But sadly, employers are using the resistance against the employees even though they know how unhappy they are to return to work fully. They are threatening workers with the termination of contracts or firing.

The real solution to this standoff is for companies or employers to come to a compromise. The idea of returning the work setting back to the pre-pandemic model might be far-fetched especially when work-from-home has proved to be effective, and most workers love it. However, the parties can agree to the flexibility of work to determine what should be done remotely, and what not. A good hybrid arrangement of 2 or 3 days a week might be a good idea. Presently, that is the new work model Apple has introduced as a compromise.

What do you think about workers being asked to return to work fully? Do you buy the idea or do you prefer working fully remote? What are your opinions on the current apple work model?

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