Why Some Companies Are So Desperate To End Remote Work

Companies are pushing harder than ever to put a stop to remote work in order to take back more control of their workers.

By Iqra Butt | Published

remote work ceos recession white-collar worker four-day workweek hybrid work un-retiring

Remote work has been popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many businesses to adopt in order to prevent the spread of the virus and keep their business going. Many companies continued remote work even after the vaccine was available. However, many companies are ending remote work to reestablish a traditional work environment and resume more control over the office.

In recent years, remote work has gained popularity as a flexible and convenient way for employees to perform their jobs outside of the traditional office setting. Forbes notes that research has shown remote work can have a number of positive effects on employees. However, despite these benefits, many companies are still mandating that workers return to the office. 

According to BBC News, a 2022 study revealed that 40 percent of 13,382 workers said workplace flexibility was a top motivator when it comes to whether they stay in their role. While 26 percent said a lack of flexibility is a major factor in why they quit their last role. This suggests that remote work plays a large role in employee motivation; however, this is not stopping companies from defaulting to in-person work again.

Remote work offers both employees and companies benefits including increased flexibility which allows employees to work on their own schedules resulting in better work-life balance. It also is cost-saving when employees and companies save money on commuting costs and office rent. Remote workers often are more productive since they are not distracted by the noise and interruptions of a traditional office environment.

BBC News notes that previously remote work was a special privilege used only for specific scenarios. However, the pandemic shifted these practices and allowed for workplace flexibility to become a high-valued job aspect. Amid these market shifts, companies utilized the allowing employees to work from home as options for enticing new hires. 

Despite the trends and numerous benefits, many companies are becoming adamant on curtailing this practice. With companies now enacting mass layoffs and hiring freezes, the state of the economy and market is uncertain. That’s why BBC News suggests that the dynamic of the labor market is shifting back toward businesses as opposed to workers. 

As such, executives are making decisions to minimize remote work during this time. The plan to bring back employees into the office signifies an opportunity for businesses to redo their work practices. This means that workers who may have enjoyed the perks from remote work may now have to give them back up. 

There are a number of reasons why companies may be resistant to continuing remote work. According to a study conducted by Gallup, workers cite a few key disadvantages of working from home that employers seem to want to capitalize on. Remote employees have less access to work resources and equipment which could hinder their ability to perform their job as efficiently.

The study notes that the second most cited disadvantage was feeling less connected to the organization’s culture. While some may see this as a positive, businesses rely heavily on workplace culture and mission to unify employees. Lastly, remote work can cause decreased team collaboration and less of a working relationship with coworkers. 

The changes in workplace practices that have stemmed from working remotely are undeniable. They will undoubtedly have lasting impacts on the labor market as businesses wrestle to regain power. Check with your company protocol to see if any changes to your position will be coming over the horizon.