Why return to the office if you’re just Zooming all day anyway?

Many business owners insist that their workers will return to the office soon. Think again. Mega-commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield admits, “No one is expecting workers to come into the office to primarily answer emails—that and any other heads-down tasks can be done anywhere.”

This is not happening, Cushman & Wakefield argues, just because COVID-19 forced businesses to embrace working from home. It’s a trend that’s been building since 2005. The further along an area is in the knowledge and experience economy, the more likely it is to support remote work. For example, in 2019—before anyone knew anything much about pandemics—Austin, Texas had already seen 14.4% of its office workers doing their jobs remotely.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped some businesses from insisting that things will return to the good old days of morning commutes, 9-to-5 in the office, and an evening commute to round out the day. I’m so sick of hearing this. It’s not going to happen.

As I’ve pointed out before, people are sick (sometimes literally) of working from offices. If you try to force them to come back, they’ll quit. It’s that simple. There are more jobs out there now than employees to fill them, and they know that. Don’t believe me? Check with your HR department about how hard it is to fill open positions.

This is really not the time to cut your business’s throat by giving your best people a big reason to walk away from their job.

Besides, what do those workers find when they do come back to the office? The exact same work they’ve been doing from home—and the same flurry of Zoom meetings they were already doing from the home office. Except, in the office, they have to dress up.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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