Employees love working remotely. Many make threats to leave their current company if they can’t work from home at least half the time, or more. People looking to go to work for a company say they won’t hire on unless they’re given a guarantee that they can work half time or more from home.
Is this the real future of work in the United States?
Economic blogger, Kevin Drum — who used to work for Mother Jones and now does quite a bit of work for The Wall Street Journal — is seeing, and hearing, more from companies saying they want their employees coming back to the office.
This is a huge change from what we’ve seen from the time COVID hit in 2020 until now. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that technology companies are even starting to move toward that way of thinking. That’s odd because a couple of years ago those same companies were telling their employees they could work from home — forever!
Drum said the work from home revolution — in spite of what you’re hearing — is just not going to happen, and what we have now is not going to continue.
“Companies that put up with [remote work] for a long time are finally getting sick and tired of [it],” Drum recently wrote on his blog and the reason is pretty easy to guess. [It] simply isn’t as productive as office work, no matter what remote workers say. Too much evidence has piled up to credibly deny this any longer.”
Does Drum know his stuff? Employment experts say he’s on top of his game and reads employment and economic data like a good fortune teller reads tea leaves. So he’s expecting most of the private sector to be back in the office sooner rather than later.
“There was remote work before the pandemic and there will be a little more after the pandemic,” he wrote. “But it’s going to be measured in a small handful of percentage points, not as a revolution in work.”
As noted earlier, some remote workers say they’ll quit before they go back to the office, and believe they are in such demand that they can easily move to a company that will give on their demands. Many people looking for work currently have much the same attitude.
Drum says they need to pay attention to what’s happening in the work world.
First of all, those working remotely are starting to admit that sometimes it’s better to work from the office. If hybrid work isn’t done correctly the work team can become dysfunctional. Sanford University economics professor, Nick Bloom is a remote work expert and an advocate of the hybrid system.
He said this is especially true when workers on a team don’t all work in the office on the same days. “Then they come in and realize their team is all at home, which defeats the purpose,” Bloom said. “They didn’t come in to use the Ping–Pong table, and there’s no point in coming in just to shout at Zoom all day.”
Bloom says if a hybrid arrangement needs to continue, newer workers need to be at the office the most.
Also, remote work is sometimes not as mentally healthy as some contend. Drum noted research done by McKinsey that found remote workers are much more likely to report mental and physical health issues and work environments that are hostile.
Worst of all, 60% of the managers and business owners surveyed by McKinsey said if job cuts are needed, remote workers will be their first target.
It is now more or less proven that remote workers work about 3.5 fewer hours per week than those working at the office. They do errands, exercise and do laundry while “working” from home.
The National Bureau of Economic Research put out a document in January of this year stating that remote workers save 72 minutes a day — on average — avoiding a commute to work. Of that average of 72 minutes — the bureau contends — 40% of it goes toward extra work for the employer.
He quotes a report from Liberty Street Economics that says that 3.5 hours is actually a decline in the number of hours worked and that those hours are not dedicated to the employer.
By the way, Liberty Street Economics is a research arm for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The report took statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its American Time Use Survey to come to its conclusions.
And those conclusions are that the 3.5 hours are not typically given to the employer.
Drum recently wrote a post on his blog that quotes the CEO of an HR tech company who talked to The Wall Street Journal. The CEO said on the days his team works remotely, new subscriber signups fall by 30%.
Drum also notes that EY-Parthenono’s Chief Economist Gregory Daco told Fortune Magazine that he hears stories like that from all over, and from many different economic sectors. Many of his clients are complaining of “reduced productivity because of the new work environment.”
Bloom — who, as noted earlier, is an advocate of remote working — disagrees and says those number are not really accurate.
“What I suspect is if you took out all the time at work talking about the Super Bowl, politics, your weekend, etc., working from home would involve more actual working minutes [than working in an office],” Bloom said.
Pro-remote workers also disagree. A Pew Research survey of remote workers found they have a better work-life balance than those penned in an office all day.
Conclusion. Two different viewpoints. How it all turns out? Time will tell.
Source link: MSN — https://bit.ly/48lpTkQ