In an astonishing maneuver, New York City's mayor has decided to outlaw remote work in an attempt to force everyone back in office.
After months of pressuring the private sector to get employees to return to in-person offices, New York City mayor Eric Adams is calling on city workers to do the same. This Thursday, Adams made a public statement about this new proposal and his earlier hypocrisy in forcing others to work in person while city workers could stay remote. Adams stated that this move was mainly to stimulate the city’s economy as more people flock to the Big Apple in the summer months.
Adams sent out a memo stating that all workers employed by New York City have to return to their offices. Hybrid schedules, which include partially working from home, will no longer be allowed by the city. This memo has had split reactions from both residents and workers. Some are excited to interact with coworkers since repeated isolation can affect one’s mental health. But amongst a new surge of the omicron subvariant BA.2, others are wary about returning to work and catching this recent viral strain.
In New York City, COVID data has shown that the virus is at a reasonably stable infection rate. The rate is 8.5% for the city’s seven-day average, but others argue that this figure is still too high. Hospitalizations are also experiencing an increase, 14% higher than in the previous week. These conflicting statistics paint a precarious picture for those forced to return to work. Though working in person is essential for mental stimulation and connection, pretending that COVID isn’t still a risk would be highly irresponsible. Remote work diminishes the possibility of infection tremendously.
Business analyst Carl Gould identified a different issue for people consistently working from home. He argues that when you work remotely, you’re possibly “training your boss” on how the company can live without your services. This isn’t entirely truthful since remote working requires the employee to complete all the tasks one would finish in an office setting. But, his point may come down to interpersonal connections that are removed from an office environment when everyone is operating out of their apartments. Gould also included that many should expect companies to start outsourcing their work in the next 18 months.
Gould believes those who operate solely on computers could have their jobs outsourced in the near future. If the job includes “repetitive tasks,” then that work can be more efficiently allocated to someone else. With the inflation rate rising, everything costs more, including paying your employees. Though this isn’t set in stone, Gould may have a point about outsourcing jobs to help strike a company’s budget. This could be a sad reality for many employees who need and deserve to work remotely for safety and monetary reasons.
So far, not much is known about how mayor Eric Adams will enforce city workers’ new in-person work policy. There’s no concrete punishment for city workers who want to continue their remote work, but that could change in the next couple of weeks. Adams did include that certain exceptions would be made for individuals but didn’t elaborate on who would qualify for in-person exemptions. There’s a good chance Adams and his office is still outlining their in-person policies but wanted to galvanize city workers to go back to work before installing concrete mandates.