Photo Credit: Luis Alvarez | Getty Images
Many businesses may have a hard time getting workers to the typical face-to-face arrangement. Employers who enforce hybrid work arrangements have stated that they want to make it mandatory for staff to visit workplaces frequently each week physically. However, the implementation is challenging for executives. Part of this can be attributed to the employees’ resistance to a total return to the pre-pandemic system of operations.
However, businesses might need to become more compelling as the months go by and the need to restore the previous arrangement becomes obvious.
According to the business consulting firm Gartner, at least 69% of U.S. employers use a remote working scheme. Out of this total, 26% indicated they expect their staff to turn up three days a week at the workplace, 17% said they prefer two days a week, and 4% say once a week. In addition, 5% of employers mandate five times per week attendance from their staff.
Thirty-one percent of the Execs who engaged in the study stated they don’t have a fixed schedule for how often they want their staff to be present in the workplace. For instance, the commercial real estate company JLL announced that they would not mandate a certain amount of days for their staff members this fall.
“We’ve always believed in flexibility to draw the talent we need. We believe fundamentally that the office is a key part of the work ecosystem,” said Laura Adams, the human resource officer of JLL.
The problem faced by executives
Some forecast that, particularly following Labor Day, office occupancy would rise over time. In comparison to other periods in 2022, according to Mark Ein, chairman of the management company Kastle System, office occupancy has already increased. Despite this, the number is still just 43% of what it was before the epidemic, though.
Given that firms want to reinstate their systems to how they were previously, Ein is still positive that the number will soon rise. Moreover, company officials are convinced that companies will resume their original course since Covid has become easier to control in many U.S. states.
“Short of another surge – in which the scientific community says it’s unsafe to come to work – CEOs are saying it’s no longer an issue of safety, and kids are in school,” stated Johnny Taylor, the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource and Management.
“They’ve accepted that we’re not going back to the good old days, but [feel] employees don’t want to give anything.”
Others think that if there is persistent resistance from employees, companies may decide to eliminate other employees and recruit fresh hires who are more eager to show up in the workplace as needed. More benefits will be provided to businesses if this trend continues.
Ben Wigert, the director of research and strategy for workplace management at Gallup, said, “The game changer would be if widespread layoffs begin taking place. At that point, employees might voluntarily begin spending more time in the office to protect their jobs.”
The head of research at Gartner, Brian Kropp, claims that businesses rarely fire workers for non-compliance. According to a poll, just 3% of companies will let go of employees who don’t comply with the desired in-office requirement.
“If you’re not meeting the attendance [requirement], you get in trouble, but you don’t get fired. They will try to make it work … because the labor market is still so competitive. So they’re not willing to make their hiring problem even worse,” Kropp further said.
Threats could negatively impact company
It may not be smart to threaten non-compliant employees with salary reduction and termination, say experts in the workplace. The workplace requires face time. But studies show that developing positive interactions between employers and workers is not a direct result of time spent at the workplace.
“The tide has not shifted entirely yet. It’s still a good job market. Employees have options. And even if the tide turns, don’t disenfranchise them through fear and distrust,” Wigert concluded.