Insights

Are Fortune 500 Companies Done Working From Home?

A recent article in Fortune examined one of the hottest questions facing companies today, will our workforce stay remote or go back to the office? In this video clip from “The Virtual Opportunities Show” on Motley Fool Live, recorded on April 12, Fool.com contributor Rachel Warren discusses the two sides to this multilayered issue. 

Rachel Warren: I saw this really interesting article that came out, I guess, last week by Fortune and it was entitled, “Fed up managers declare that work-from-home is over as 77% said they’d fire you or cut your pay for not coming back to the office.” That definitely caught my attention and so I had to dig a little deeper.
One of the things we’ve talked about a lot and something as I’ve talked with various thought leaders and company leaders in recent interviews for the Fool, there is very much seems to be this agreement and idea that remote work or some version of it is here to stay. But what’s interesting is that there was this study that was conducted that Fortune was referencing by a company called Good Hire and the survey included 3,500 managers across the U.S.
According to the survey, 77% of respondents said they would be willing to implement severe consequences including firing workers or slashing pay and benefits for individuals who refused to return to the office. Another thing that was interesting was three out of five managers, according to the study, believe that remote work is on the wane. They believe workers will be back in the office full-time by the end of this year.
Now, juxtaposed against this Fortune also mentioned, many surveys have shown the majority of workers prefer remote and hybrid work structures but most managers still believe that in-person work is best. For example, the article referenced a quote from the former CEO of Google [part of Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)], Eric Schmidt saying, “I don’t know how you build great management with remote work. I honestly don’t.” That’s what he said.
Good Hire, which is the company that conducted the survey of 3,500 plus managers across the U.S. was saying, managers are clearly struggling, organizations that find a work arrangement that satisfies the majority of their workforce will benefit in the areas of recruitment, productivity, employee satisfaction, and retention.
A couple of other things that were really interesting the article noted was that about 10% of employed Americans worked remotely in March because of COVID and over half of workers reported being already required to return in-person full-time. Now as the article also noted in this something we’ve talked about some of these big financial giants like Goldman Sachs reopened, had a very strict demand. Like you need to come back into the office and on the first day that they reopened and mandated employees return, only about half showed up.
What I think is really interesting is we’re seeing a very clear divergence between what workers are wanting and what managers are willing to give, which I don’t know that that comes as a surprise to anyone but I do think it is interesting to watch how this is going to play out.
One of the things the article did note in closing, we continue to have a really high number of open jobs available in the U.S. That number has not wavered even though numbers are improving and we still have a real change in the labor force participation rate compared to pre-pandemic and workers do still have a lot of leverage.
There are a lot of job opportunities out there. So if you’re manager threatens to fire you or cut your pay because you want a remote job or want to continue working remotely for example, many workers do have options. I think it’s interesting.
I was very surprised to see that there was such a clear number of managers that were completely done with work-from-home want nothing to do with it and I don’t know if that comes down to the jobs themselves, but the industries are. There wasn’t a real breakdown of that in the report that I could see, or if it comes down to maybe lack of an internal organizational structure that really facilitates a great work-from-home situation, but will be fascinating to see how this shapes up, I think over the next couple of years.Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Rachel Warren has positions in Alphabet (A shares). The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. –

A recent article in Fortune examined one of the hottest questions facing companies today, will our workforce stay remote or go back to the office? In this video clip from “The Virtual Opportunities Show” on Motley Fool Live, recorded on April 12, Fool.com contributor Rachel Warren discusses the two sides to this multilayered issue. 

Rachel Warren: I saw this really interesting article that came out, I guess, last week by Fortune and it was entitled, “Fed up managers declare that work-from-home is over as 77% said they’d fire you or cut your pay for not coming back to the office.” That definitely caught my attention and so I had to dig a little deeper.

One of the things we’ve talked about a lot and something as I’ve talked with various thought leaders and company leaders in recent interviews for the Fool, there is very much seems to be this agreement and idea that remote work or some version of it is here to stay. But what’s interesting is that there was this study that was conducted that Fortune was referencing by a company called Good Hire and the survey included 3,500 managers across the U.S.

According to the survey, 77% of respondents said they would be willing to implement severe consequences including firing workers or slashing pay and benefits for individuals who refused to return to the office. Another thing that was interesting was three out of five managers, according to the study, believe that remote work is on the wane. They believe workers will be back in the office full-time by the end of this year.

Now, juxtaposed against this Fortune also mentioned, many surveys have shown the majority of workers prefer remote and hybrid work structures but most managers still believe that in-person work is best. For example, the article referenced a quote from the former CEO of Google [part of Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)], Eric Schmidt saying, “I don’t know how you build great management with remote work. I honestly don’t.” That’s what he said.

Good Hire, which is the company that conducted the survey of 3,500 plus managers across the U.S. was saying, managers are clearly struggling, organizations that find a work arrangement that satisfies the majority of their workforce will benefit in the areas of recruitment, productivity, employee satisfaction, and retention.

A couple of other things that were really interesting the article noted was that about 10% of employed Americans worked remotely in March because of COVID and over half of workers reported being already required to return in-person full-time. Now as the article also noted in this something we’ve talked about some of these big financial giants like Goldman Sachs reopened, had a very strict demand. Like you need to come back into the office and on the first day that they reopened and mandated employees return, only about half showed up.

What I think is really interesting is we’re seeing a very clear divergence between what workers are wanting and what managers are willing to give, which I don’t know that that comes as a surprise to anyone but I do think it is interesting to watch how this is going to play out.

One of the things the article did note in closing, we continue to have a really high number of open jobs available in the U.S. That number has not wavered even though numbers are improving and we still have a real change in the labor force participation rate compared to pre-pandemic and workers do still have a lot of leverage.

There are a lot of job opportunities out there. So if you’re manager threatens to fire you or cut your pay because you want a remote job or want to continue working remotely for example, many workers do have options. I think it’s interesting.

I was very surprised to see that there was such a clear number of managers that were completely done with work-from-home want nothing to do with it and I don’t know if that comes down to the jobs themselves, but the industries are. There wasn’t a real breakdown of that in the report that I could see, or if it comes down to maybe lack of an internal organizational structure that really facilitates a great work-from-home situation, but will be fascinating to see how this shapes up, I think over the next couple of years.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Rachel Warren has positions in Alphabet (A shares). The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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