Managing the work from home rebellion - Washington Times

Summary

OPINION:

American businesses are ordering, cajoling and even bribing workers to return to their offices, but fear, pleading and free food don’t stack up against some cold realities.

OPINION:

American businesses are ordering, cajoling and even bribing workers to return to their offices, but fear, pleading and free food don’t stack up against some cold realities.

According to Kastle — the folks who provide electronic keys to access so many buildings — office occupancy has only partially recovered to about 45% and is less than half of pre-pandemic levels.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon ordered his bankers to their desks full-time, but on day one of his edict, just 50% of his headquarter employees showed up.

Mr. Solomon and much of the Wall Street aristocracy are the product of a system that effectively hazes its young employees with extremely long days and senseless overnight and weekend work. And a mentality that says, “if I had to do it, it must be good for them.”

Google has softened the stick a bit by treating employees to rock concerts, but it’s cutting pay for those who wish to permanently work remotely or transfer to offices at less costly locations.

The message is clear: Work away to dead-end your career.

Most businesses can’t afford the best, brightest and most obsessed with huge starting salaries and the prospect of making partner and being paid as well as a middle infielder for the New York Yankees. And the professional employee matchmaker, Ladders, reports over the last year the share of jobs that can be done remotely has risen from 18% to 25%.

Those options will expand further, and we may be dealing with a generational problem among corporate decision-makers. The likes of Goldman Sachs and Google may need new CEOs more than bread and circuses to attract and keep young talent.

Young people have been interacting remotely most of their lives. Video games as social spaces, texting and, before the pandemic, blended learning at universities that combined classroom and remote instruction was coming into play.

The shutdowns of 2020 and 2021 may have pushed distance learning to unproductive extremes, but the positive trend for relying more on instruction online as opposed to in classrooms has shifted upward.

Getting ahead and to the top in most industries has required an outsized work ethic and good advertising. With a crisp new Ph.D. in hand and working for a business-oriented think tank, I learned having my Datsun B-210 first in the lot, next to the door where my boss, his boss and their secretaries passed counted for a lot.

Before you know it was “Peter’s here all the time,” and I became the youngest vice president in the firm’s storied history.

Fortunately, I got smart, wanted a life and became a professor at the University of Maine. After two years of cultivating campus contacts, I mostly worked from home and often from my digs in Alexandria, Virginia.

Not all places are universities — thankfully or the Chinese would surely own the country by now. But faculty are terribly productive — we are rewarded to publish and make trouble, and we do a lot of both.

We never bought into bonding at water coolers. Our most important colleagues are counterparts in the same subdisciplines at other universities and consulting clients, and we communicated quite effectively before email and zoom with telephones and conference calls.

And we are not managed by Luddites — ask any dean, faculty are influenced but never managed.

The facts are becoming plainer — the optimal setup for working in the office is two or three days.

Studies at Harvard and Stanford parsed workers into groups according to how much time they spent at the company desk. They found that one or two days a week at the office yielded the highest productivity but those kinds of studies are inherently short-run.

The pandemic was characterized by sprints where employers could rely on employee relationships established during years of in-office interactions prior to shutdowns.

Bosses tend to have egos, and too many like to see their workers under their dutiful control. But good ones also like to brainstorm with their juniors and encourage free-form collaboration. Those who elect to stay at home and out of sight are inherently disadvantaged for plum assignments and promotion.

Employers should pick two or three days when everyone must come to the office — otherwise the employees will all fight over who gets to work away Mondays and Fridays — and shut the offices the rest of the time.

Instead of requiring a good reason to work from home, employers should require a good reason to take up space at the office on days designated for work-from-home days. And those obsessive young professionals who want to park their cars first in the lot will have to get ahead simply by being more productive and creative.

• Peter Morici is an economist, emeritus business professor at the University of Maryland, and national columnist.

Managing the work from home rebellion - Washington Times
Photo Credit: Washington Times

Recent WFH News Articles

Work from home in India: 73% firms plan hybrid working model post Covid-19 pandemic | Mint - Mint

With several companies experiencing challenges since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey has shared that 73% of India firms are evaluating if hybrid working arrangement …

Read more here
Work from home in India: 73% firms plan hybrid working model post Covid-19 pandemic | Mint - Mint

This Is How Leaders Can Make the Best of Remote Working - Entrepreneur

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Remote work is no longer a temporary solution or a means to an end. It's now our reality. Learning how to build effi …

Read more here
This Is How Leaders Can Make the Best of Remote Working - Entrepreneur

North Wales secondary school asks children to work from home due to Covid spike - North Wales Live

A North Wales secondary school has asked some children to work from home due to a rise in Covid cases. Ysgol Aberconwy is telling students to work from home for certain days this w …

Read more here
North Wales secondary school asks children to work from home due to Covid spike - North Wales Live

Hybrid Work Is Doomed - The Atlantic

I noticed the shoes first. That I was wearing them. Real shoes, the leather kind, with laces. After a year and a half, I was finally returning to the office, and that meant giving …

Read more here
Hybrid Work Is Doomed - The Atlantic

Dutch to make working from home a legal right – and the rest of Europe could follow - The Telegraph

The Netherlands is on the cusp of making working from home a legal right in a radical move that experts say could be followed across Europe. The Dutch parliament has approved a la …

Read more here
Dutch to make working from home a legal right – and the rest of Europe could follow - The Telegraph