After pushback on a new return to work policy, General Motors has put the plan on hold for the time being.
- General Motors CEO Mary Barra issued an apology to workers for the timing of an email detailing a return-to-work plan that included mandatory three days in-person work.
- Pushback from employees caused Barra to partially retract the decision, apologizing for the timing of the message and saying that the plan won’t be enforced this year, but more in-person presence will be expected down the line.
- For the time being, General Motors will continue with their current “Work Appropriately” guidelines which state: “employees have the flexibility to work where they can have the greatest impact to achieve their goals and for their individual success.”
Why it’s news
Businesses are still deciding whether remote work or in-person work best suits company needs, but some employees are deciding for employers.
General Motors employees’ hesitancy to return to the office follows a trend of workers preferring to stay at home.
General Motors isn’t the only company struggling to get employees back in the office. Security access card provider Kastle Systems tracked card swipes in offices of 10 U.S. cities, and found that occupancy has decreased slightly since the Labor Day push to return to offices.
Before Labor Day, Kastle data showed a 34.5% occupancy rate in New York City. Following Labor Day, that number jumped to 46.6%. Newer data, but just a few weeks later that number dropped to 46.1%.
Backing It Up a Bit
Recent surveys have shown that employees prefer to work from home, and even feel that they are more productive when not working in the office.
Even though employees are content to stay at home, some employers are trying to bring workers back to the office. In the case of some Google offices, that move backfired.
Shortly after implementing the return to work plan, hundreds of Google employees at two offices contracted COVID, causing some employees to question the wisdom of returning to work.
Companies that decide to allow remote work are still facing challenges as more employers decide to implement employee surveillance tools.
- Known by some as bossware, an increasing number of employers are using technology to monitor employees, going so far as to track keystrokes and mouse clicks.
- In a case of productivity paranoia, more managers are worried that employees aren’t meeting productivity quotas and resorting to watching workers’ every move.
- The number of employers using some sort of monitoring software has nearly doubled since the pandemic.
While 87% of employees said in a Microsoft study that they are more productive when working from home, 85% of managers said they had a hard time determining how productive their employees were.
Studies like one conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research have found that hybrid and remote workers tend to get more work done than in-office employees, partly because they can choose what time of day to get work done.