Returning Back to ‘In-Office’ Work Days


Group of business people discussing business plan in the office. | Image by dotshock, Shutterstock

Working from home became a new norm for a lot of people starting back in 2020, but that may soon change for some.

Already in the first four months of 2022, office occupancy rose 20%, according to Kastle Systems, which tracked the number of people coming into the office with key fobs and data swipes. 

On the other hand, people have gotten used to just waking up and opening their laptops to clock in — is it really time for everyone to go back?

In February of 2022, about six in 10 workers in the U.S. reported that their jobs could mainly be done from home all or most of the time, according to a Pew Research survey.   

According to Office Manager Kristin Cruise, The Dallas Express has about 60 employees of which 21 are present in the office at some point during the week and 39 work remotely.

“We are so reliant on everyone working from computers so I haven’t noticed a difference in the progress of the workplace,” said Cruise.

Texas was ranked number seven for the best work-at-home state according to a study by WalletHub. This is especially true of North Texas, as The Dallas Express previously reported, where Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano made RentCafe’s top 50 list of the best cities in the country for remote workers. 

That being said, a remote workforce may not be best for all companies.

A spokesperson from an investment firm in Pennsylvania, Vanguard, told The Wall Street Journal that working in the office is essential for both workers and clients. As a result, employees were issued return-to-office mandates by management, which threatened to fire them — with severance — if they did not comply. 

Last year, when bosses used similar tactics to get employees back in a Jacksonville, Florida bank, employees weren’t too thrilled. As 47-year-old Latitia Jackson told The Washington Post, she had grown used to the quiet of her apartment and was reluctant to return back into an office space with coworkers, even going as far as to think of it as a punishment.

“It’s been working so well and now you’re making me go back when I’m doing the exact same job there that I’m doing from home,” Jackson explained.

In a Gallup poll from June, 60% of remote workers reported it being “extremely likely” that they would look for another job if their employer decided not to offer remote or at least hybrid working conditions. 

Some research suggests that what is pushing a number of employers to bring their employees back into the office comes down to a simple absence of trust.

A survey by Microsoft in September showed that only 12% of managers had full confidence their team was productive working virtually or hybrid. 

While some employees might try and push back against returning to in-office work, growing anxiety over threats of a recession may grant employers more leverage.

Kathryn Wylde, chief executive of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, told Reuters that a shift towards a hybrid working schedule seems most likely in 2023.

“It’s not going to be so easy to give up your job,” she explained.

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