The Battle To End Remote Work Is Officially On?

Many large corporations have a big problem with remote work. With Labor Day out of the way, the battle to end remote work has begun.

By Joseph Farago | Published

remote work great resignation

When the pandemic set in, quarantine limited people’s access to the office. Many companies and employers turned to work from home as the solution for no-contact mandates. Over time, workers worldwide have shown they can be diligent, responsible team players while doing remote work. But since mask mandates have dropped, some employers have been vying for their employees to return to the office. As summer ends and experts warn of another spike due to close contact, workers and their bosses are at odds about safety in the workplace.

Since workers everywhere have proven they can do their tasks efficiently from home, teams at giant companies like Apple and Facebook have expressed the need to continue remote work or have a hybrid schedule. Hybrid schedules have been adopted more recently in 2022, where employers allow their staff to work from home if they’re in the office for a couple of days of the week, too. Though this has been a successful compromise between employers and employees, some companies are pushing to eliminate work-from-home schedules.

As of mid-2022, 69% of medium to large-sized companies say they require employees able to work from home to operate inside the office for a set amount of days.  According to a survey from business consulting firm Gartner, 26% of that figure are required to be in the office three days a week. 17% of employers instilled a two-day minimum, while 4% only needed their workers to be in the office one day a week. 5% of employers removed work-from-home allowance altogether, requesting their staff to be in person five days a week.

One large company, a global commercial real estate services firm called JLL, has more than 100,000 employees and no minimum requirement for in-person work. JLL joins 31% of companies that allow remote work by implementing requirements for working inside their physical offices. A third of the Gartner data suggests that companies will continue being lenient about work-from-home practices, but that figure may shrink in the upcoming months. Though JLL has no plans to establish in-person requirements in the future, the company wants to create more social events to showcase the positives of working in a collaborative setting.

If people continue their remote work, what’s the point of having luxury, substantial office settings? Many ponder the need for office spaces since the percentage of occupied offices in America is under 50%. Though this is doubled from what it was at the start of COVID, it still indicates the unnecessity of ample office space. Many believe employers want to remove work-from-home just to use the workplace accommodations that aren’t being utilized anymore. Though some CEOs wish to return to a work environment standard that was present pre-COVID, many companies respect that working from home is the new norm.

Those wondering if strict in-person working regulations will affect their job shouldn’t be too worried. Gartner found that only 3% of medium to large-size companies indicated that they would fire workers who didn’t oblige to new in-person working requirements. 30% of companies said that if they eliminated remote work and an employee wasn’t meeting in-person needs, they’d have a manager or HR talk with the respective employee before termination.