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For many businesses, getting staff to meet in person may be tough. Companies requiring hybrid work arrangements have stated their goal to make it necessary for their staff to appear in workplaces multiple times each week physically. Executives are having trouble adopting it, though. This is partially a result of the workers’ resistance to fully returning to the pre-pandemic system of operations.
However, as the months go by and the need to return to the previous arrangement becomes clear, businesses may need to become more convincing.
According to business research company Gartner, at least 69% of American employers use a remote working configuration. In this group, 26% of the respondents indicated they expect their employees to show up three days a week at the workplace, 17% said they prefer two days a week, and 4% said once a week. Only 5% of employers mandate five days a week in-person attendance from their staff.
One-third of the CEOs who participated in the study stated they don’t have a fixed schedule for how often their staff should be present on-site. For instance, the commercial real estate company JLL announced that they would not expect their staff to work a certain amount of days in the 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,” stated Laura Adams, the human resource officer of the enterprise.
The troubles of the employers
Others believe that office occupancy will keep rising, particularly following Labor Day. The present office occupancy has already increased compared to former times in 2022, according to Mark Ein, head of the management company Kastle System. Nevertheless, even with this, the percentage is still just 43% of what it was before the epidemic.
Given the desire of businesses to restore their systems to their original state, Ein is certain that the number will soon rise. Company officials are optimistic about getting back on track as Covid has gotten more manageable in several 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 the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource and Management, Johnny Taylor.
“They’ve accepted that we’re not going back to the good old days, but [feel] employees don’t want to give anything.”
Others believe that if employees continue to show resistance, companies may decide to dismiss other employees and hire new people who will be more inclined to show up at work when needed. If this pattern continues, businesses will benefit more.
“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,” explained Ben Wigert, the director of research and strategy for workplace management at Gallup.
However, according to Brian Kropp, the director of research at Gartner, businesses do not typically fire employees for non-compliance. According to a poll, only 3% of employers will terminate employees who don’t conform to the in-office rule they want to impose.
“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 stated.
Employee threats may have negative consequences
Threats of wage reductions and termination for non-compliant employees may not be a smart answer, say experts in the workplace. Face time is vital at work. However, studies show that spending time in the workplace does not necessarily contribute to the development of positive working relationships between employers and workers.
“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,” concluded Wigert.