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New Study Shows Surprising Development in Hybrid Workplace Policy

TASA ID: 22108

Given the extensive headlines about Amazon, Disney, and Starbucks ordering employees back to the office, you might think that the back-to-office return is inevitable. Yet do such headlines represent the reality of a new wave, or are they just clickbait for anxious workers who want to avoid the threat of a forced office return?

The Pernicious Myth of Working Two Remote Jobs

TASA ID: 22108

“I would bet 10 percent or more of our remote staff, especially programmers, are working two remote jobs! We need to stop this before it escalates and get everyone back to the office.”

Thus, spoke the Chair of the Board of a Fortune 1,000 tech company when I met with the Board to help them figure out the company’s plans for permanent post-pandemic work arrangements. Having helped 19 organizations determine their hybrid and remote work plans, I heard such sentiments all too often.

So I asked him where he got his information. He told me he sits on other company boards: that’s what he heard from other board members, and he guesses the same thing goes on here.

Improving Diversity via Work From Home Jobs for Disabled Adults

TASA ID: 22108

If you give any leader the opportunity to increase their talent pool of potential employees by 15% - with all these new hires belonging to an underrepresented minority - they’d jump at the chance, especially given tight labor markets and CEO desires to increase headcount. Yet too few leaders realize that, according to the US government, people with disabilities are the largest minority group in this country, with 50 million - 15% of the population - living with disabilities.

Sure, many executives feel concerned by the extra investments involved in providing accommodations for people with disabilities. Yet these accommodations might not involve anything besides full-time remote work, according to a new study by the Economic Innovation Group think tank. The study found that the employment rate for people with disabilities did not simply reach the pre-pandemic level by mid-2022, but rose far past it, to the highest rate in over a decade. Remote work, combined with a tight labor market, explain this high rate, according to the researcher’s analysis.

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.

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