The Return-to-Office versus Work-from-Home Tug of War continues. Many businesses are getting more insistent with their plans to get staff back in the office more, shifting tactics from offering perks to issuing mandates.
In a study from A.Team, 53% of tech leaders said an economic downturn would make it easier to require employees to return to the office. A study from OSlash found that 57% of employers were content with employees resigning if they didn’t want to return to the office.
This was famously illustrated by Tesla’s memo to employees in June, requiring at least 40 hours a week in the office: “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”
There has been hard and soft staff pushback to returning to the office, but more people are now in the office than at any point since the start of the pandemic. In Manhattan, 49% of office workers are in the workplace on an average weekday, which is expected to increase to 54% by January.
Office occupancy is still half of pre-pandemic levels and there’s widespread experimentation with different strains of hybrid working — trying out the number of days, which days, how teams collaborate, and the blurred lines between work and home. Some companies, like Airbnb, have promised that employees can work remotely forever.
As Jeff Adler, VP at Yardi, put it: “we’re in the messy, mushy middle.”
Andrew Mawson, MD of AWA, described returning to the office this way:
“People tried coming into the office and when they got there, they found all they were doing was being on Zoom calls.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: