Efforts to mandate employees return to their office after months of remote work appear to largely be going unheeded.
- Despite mandates from major corporations, remote work is holding steady across the country.
- Security company Kastle Systems says that card-swipe data is decreasing, which it says indicates less commuting.
- “Average office occupancy in 10 U.S. cities for the week ending September 28 declined slightly from 47.3% to 47.2% the previous week,” says Bloomberg.
- It was the second straight week where nationwide office occupancy barely budged, after shooting up right after Labor Day.
- A larger 2.6% decrease was noted in larger cities like New York City but was attributable to time off from the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.
Why it’s important
Despite the protests of major companies, remote work is popular and may be here to stay.
As we previously reported, the return-to-office mandates from major corporations began to go into effect this past Labor Day. BlackRock, Prudential Financial, BMO Financial Group, and other large corporations are pushing for returns to the office while others are more aggressively pressuring employees to choose to come in or face negative consequences.
Apple set a mandate that all employees must return to the office at least three days per week, which was met with resistance from over 1,000 employees who signed a petition to appeal it. Other companies like AT&T have faced similar employee backlash and petitions for attempting to draw back remote workers.
“Even allowing for the [Rosh Hashanah] holiday’s impact, the grand migration back to offices after Labor Day that many CEOs and civic leaders envisioned hasn’t materialized. Flexibility to work where and when they want has become a non-negotiable aspect of many white-collar staffers’ lives,” says Bloomberg.
Remote workers have the power to make their desires the new normal and to make their employers more flexible, and they intend to exercise it.
“Companies are experimenting with a variety of hybrid-work setups, while others, like Cisco Systems Inc., are even testing four-day workweeks. Results vary so far, but one thing is clear: When companies compel workers to return without involving them in the so-called RTO plan, there’s invariably pushback. Take General Motors Co., which last week retreated from a plan to require employees to return to a company office several days a week, delaying any changes until next year,” says Bloomberg.