Is it time to go back to the office?

A number of big businesses are insisting employees return to the office, at least for a few days a week. Is it time to start weaning employees off working from home?

Big businesses insisting on a return to the office

Amazon has joined the list of major corporations that are changing their position on remote working by insisting employees get back to the office.

The tech giant’s position is in keeping with a number of other global brands, including Disney and Starbucks, who have recently insisted that workers do fewer hours at home.

Amazon shared a memo with employees to let them know the changes would take effect from May 1, citing that it will help to strengthen communication, career development and corporate culture.

WFH boom and bust

The number of people working from home was already increasing before the pandemic, but Covid lockdowns increased its uptake dramatically. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, only around one in eight working adults reported working from home.

More recent ONS figures show that one in seven working adults (14%) worked from home exclusively between 27 April and 8 May 2022, while nearly a quarter (24%) both worked from home and travelled to work.

But there have been growing calls to get workers back to the office.

In 2021, a government minister has floated the idea that civil servants who work from home should be paid less than those that work from the office.

And now big hitters like Amazon are recalling staff.

In January, Disney announced that staff need to be in the office for four days a week from March.

Starbucks and Activision have announced similar plans, and this has been followed up by Amazon’s return to three days in the office.

Starbucks mandates at least three days of in-person work, while gaming firm Activision Blizzard announced plans for a similar policy this week.

But will the moves make staff think about moving to companies with a more relaxed work from home policy?

Is remote work the best perk?

The jobs market is currently weighted heavily in favour of employees, so businesses need a competitive benefits package to attract and keep the best talent.

A survey from bedding store, Time4Sleep, looked into the nation’s work from home habits, and almost half (42%) of workers revealed they’d be more inclined to accept a job offer if it came with the option to work from home.

So if your business hasn’t got the pull of a big name, you may need to offer a good benefits package – including remote working – to fill those vacancies.

How a conference call can help employees work from home

As we mentioned above, the pandemic changed how we see the 9-to-5 working day, and the relevance of a five-day working week is being questioned, along with the need to spend every working hour in the office. If you or your employees work from home, using a reliable conference call provider can cut out unnecessary trips to the office and make sure no one misses a meeting.

With you only need a mobile or landline to set up a call with up to 100 participants.

Image by lukasbieri on Pixabay.