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Disney’s Return to Office Mandate Shows Failure of Imagination About How to Innovate in Hybrid and Remote Work

TASA ID: 22108

Disney’s CEO Bob Iger demanded on Monday January 9 that all employees return to the office for at least four days a week because "in a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together.” That’s similar to the sentiments expressed by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who demanded that employees come to the office for at least three days per week because “Innovation isn’t always a planned activity. It is bumping into each other over the course of the day and advancing an idea that you just had. And you really need to be together to do that.”

The Four Horsemen of the Mandated Return to Office

TASA ID: 22108

As increasing numbers of companies are requiring employees to return to the office for 3-5 days per week this fall, they’re running into the buzzsaw of what one of my clients called the “Four Horsemen of the Required Return to Office” - challenges with resistance, attrition, quiet quitting, and diversity.

The Four Horsemen stem from the fact that workers who are capable of working remotely prefer to do so for most or all of the time. For example, an August 2022 Gallup survey of remote-capable workers shows that 34% of respondents want to work full-time remotely, 60% want to work a flexible hybrid schedule, and only 6% want to work in a traditional office-centric setting. A June 2022 McKinsey survey of all workers, remote-capable and not, provides further context on preferences for hybrid work. It found that 32% of respondents want to work full-time remotely, 10% want to work remotely four days a week, 16% three days a week, 18% two days a week, 13% one day a week, and 13% prefer full-time in-office work. Thus over half of all respondents want to work less than half the time in the office. And a September 2022 survey from the School of Politics and Economics at King’s College reported that 25% of respondents would quit if forced to return to the office full time.

The Business Case for Leaders Promoting the New Boosters

TASA ID: 22108

With a triple pandemic of COVID, flu, and RSV hitting the US hard this winter and resulting in an explosion of cases, business executives need to take the lead on promoting the newly-updated, Omicron-specific boosters. Doing so will help reduce the number of sick days taken by their workers, minimize COVID outbreaks and superspreader events in their companies, reduce employee fears about returning to the office, and position executives as trustworthy participants in stakeholder capitalism.

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Hiring and Firing During Uncertain Economic Times

TASA ID: 22108

After firing half its workforce, Twitter is already asking many to come back. Indeed, research McKinsey finds that even as recession fears grow, 40% of workers plan to quit their jobs. And a survey from Greenhouse, a New York City-based hiring software provider, finds that 57% of 1,500 employees plan to still be actively looking for a new job even if a recession hits. That’s not surprising, and aligns with the early November jobs report, which finds that U.S. employers added 261,000 jobs in October, higher than the 200,000 predicted by economists.

That might not bode well for many tech companies firing workers. For example, responding to its sharply-falling share price, Meta is laying off 11,000 workers, 13% of its labor force. It’s unlikely that such radical layoffs are a good decision. That’s especially the case since the just-released US labor market report for tech jobs shows continued strength, with tech companies actually adding 20,700 workers in October. That includes remote work: job postings for tech positions that specify remote work continue to rise with a year-to-date rate of 34% compared to 27% in 2021 and 22% in 2020. Clearly, remote work seems here to stay.

So what are the most successful strategies for hiring and retaining talent amid these uncertain economic times, and how can you use these strategies to navigate our increasingly-disrupted environment?

Does Remote Work Contribute to Inflation?

TASA ID: 22108

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink claimed in a recent interview with Fox that “we have to get our employees back in the office.” According to him, doing so would result in “rising productivity that will offset some of the inflationary pressures.”

Fink did not provide any data in the form of statistics, surveys, or studies to support his claims. He simply insisted, without evidence, that in-office work would reduce inflation. So what does the data say?

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