The world of work is facing a major dilemma: as the pandemic appears to be under control in many parts of the world, companies are intensifying efforts to bring employees back to the office. The highly appreciated flexibility of remote work achieved during the pandemic seems to be threatened as leaders seek greater control over their employees, as evidenced by reports from portals such as Folha de S.Paulo, Terra and Adrenaline.
A recent survey conducted in July 2022 by the enterprise technology company Owl Labs, in partnership with consultancy Global Workplace Analytics, found that employees are increasingly opposed to return to a fully face-to-face working environment. However, many leaders seem unconcerned about this.
The study also highlights that employees not only resist, but are also willing to take action. If the flexibility to work remotely were abolished, 66% of workers said that they would immediately look for another job with this flexibility. In my interpretation, this data shows that employees are not willing to sacrifice their health for an unrestricted return to the office.
And who can blame them? Flexibility in the workplace is not just a benefit; it is a necessity and a form of inclusion, as mentioned by Folha de S.Paulo.
Productivity from the comfort of home
The ability to work from home has dramatically improved the quality of life for many workers. Owl Labs research shows that 62% of workers claim to be more productive when working remotely. In addition, almost half (45%) of workers said their levels of work-related stress had increased in the past year, further demonstrating the importance of a flexible working environment.
However, as workers seek a work-life balance, many leaders seem determined to reverse this goal. Companies like Google, known for their perks and friendly work environment, now have strict office attendance requirements, even if it means declining mental health and an imbalance between the employee’s personal and professional life, as quoted in a report by Estadão.
Owl Labs’ research also revealed an important aspect: leaders are out of date.
Only a third (36%) of employers have invested in new video conferencing technologies since the beginning of the pandemic.
This shows that many people are not prepared to adopt the technology that can create an effective hybrid working model. In addition, almost half of workers (49%) believe that managers consider the employees who go to the office more hardworking and reliable than their other colleagues, demonstrating a distorted perception of reality.
The research also reveals a trust gap between workers and employers. The lack of flexibility in work policy causes 53% of employees to lose trust in the company. While leaders may believe that a rigid return to the office will bring more innovation and collaboration, the reality is that they risk losing valuable talent as a result of this approach.
As leaders call for a return to the office, it’s important to remember that the future of work is changing rapidly. The ability to work from home is increasingly important for employees who don’t want to trade work-life balance for face-to-face work. Companies that don’t adopt a flexible model run the risk of losing talent to companies that understand the importance of respecting employees’ individual needs.
I am a Front-End developer and have been working in the technology field remotely since the beginning of the pandemic. I love this system that provides freedom for employees to work in the way they find best. I think it’s crucial for companies to understand that not all employees are super productive when supervised 100% of the time.
Here at Jogajunto, we have a fantastic flexible work system where employees have the freedom to choose their working hours and aren’t required to report to their superiors hourly. Here, it’s enough to take responsibility and demonstrate professionalism by delivering all tasks by the end of the day/week, and everything will be fine.
But I’m a supporter of remote work as long as it doesn’t harm the productivity of each professional. I know that there are many other professionals who can’t adapt to 100% remote working and need to be in a corporate environment to perform at their best.
In the end, this text is not about disagreeing with the decisions of big companies. This is an appeal for them to promote freedom of work for each professional to choose the best method for them so that they can perform at their highest level.