Working from home has been rising in popularity ever since the internet started to take off and has made things like video calling much more accessible to the everyday worker. Then, during the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home essentially became mandatory for major companies that didn’t require workers to actually be in the office. Many got adjusted to working from home and, for many, it became permanent.
Then when things started to improve, workers were asked to return to the office. There was a bit of a revolt for workers who realized that they were saving time and money by not commuting to work or having to wear expensive clothes while still being just as productive (if not more so) than ever. So why do employers want to bring back their workers so badly? Here are the five key reasons.
1. Real Estate
There isn’t a single CEO that will admit to it, but the biggest reason that company executives want workers back in the office is because of how much money they’ve invested into real estate. Between office buildings and parking garages, things aren’t cheap, and employers want to make sure that their real estate investments are actually being used.
Sure, employers save money from their energy bills by not having many in the office, but these buildings are actually money-makers for the companies as well. Think of things like vending machines or restaurants that are owned by company executives. Having people in a centralized location is a revenue stream.
When you were working from home, there was a good chance that you only spoke to your coworkers through instant messaging or the occasional meeting where you didn’t even have your camera on. A certain lack of chemistry comes with remote work, which is why employers are trying to at least adhere to a hybrid schedule.
You develop more chemistry with your coworkers when you meet with them face-to-face, with employers saying that it makes for better idea generation. While that’s not the case for everyone, it certainly fits the majority.
3. They Didn’t Stop Working In Office
At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, even those that were at the top of the company food chain were working from home in their pajamas. After a couple of months, however, company executives started returning to the office in a limited capacity.
Many of these executives felt that if they had to do it, and were safe to return, then the other employees should rejoin the office setting. For some, it was a case of “if I have to be here so do you” that was branded as “we’re in this together.” For those that had to work in a big bullpen compared to an office with a door, though, it may not have seemed fair.
4. Management Duties
Have you ever been at a job where you wonder what your boss even does on a daily or weekly basis? When work-from-home started to explode in popularity, there were a lot of people that were asking that question. Middle management was being questioned left and right for its need in a large company.
For a lot of companies, there are managers who have the role of being a bit of a cheerleader and coach at the same time. This job was nearly impossible to do remotely, and those that were good at boosting office morale were left without many tasks. These managers also had to act as the mouthpieces for why returning to the office was good for employees.
There are certain jobs that can easily be trained for virtually, but there are a lot that require a hands-on training approach. Company trainers were among the first that returned to the office for a lot of companies since their jobs were essential. These companies were also hiring like crazy when revenue was reaching all-time highs and more trainers were needed.
Out of all of the reasons that employees have had to return, this is the one that has been met with the least amount of backlash. It makes sense that to be good at your new job, you need to be trained, and in-person is the best way to be trained.