Companies strike back: We need our people and life back in the office

Companies strike back: We need our people and life back in the office

Steen Uno
On the doorstep of a winter half-year, apparently without corona lockdowns in large numbers, large well-known companies - such as Apple, Google, Disney, Tesla etc. - demand employees back to their physical office environments.
Steen Uno

An array of major well-known American companies announced during the summer that on the other side of Labor Day, September 5, they wanted to see their home-working employees significantly back in the office. 

Apple demanded employees return to their physical office environments three days a week, Tuesday and Thursday, while it was up to middle managers to determine the individual employee's third mandatory day in the office.    

Amazon initially ordered office workers to return to their desks in September but decided afterwards that freedom and access to home working days should depend on individual judgements. 

Conversely, other giants such as Goldman Sachs and Netflix insist that all or at least most employees will be expected back in their offices full-time this autumn. 

Knowledge sharing at risk

"If we want our new hybrid workflows to work effectively, we need to find the balances and be more aware of when and how we organize ourselves in our physical workplace

This autumn, I, therefore, encouraged our managers and employees to come to the office a little more often in the spirit and service of cooperation and our social interaction," Royal Bank of Canada Ceo Dave McKay explains.


Employers, in different tones, encourage their home-working employees to check
into the companies' physical office environments more frequently in the spirit and
service of cooperation and social interaction.                                         Photos: iStock


Several companies worldwide fear that their company culture, social cohesion, etc. are at risk of suffering nuisance or succumbing to the massive post-covid expectations and demands for hybrid workflows.

"We must have our people and life back in the office if our social  and collaborative environment, crucial knowledge sharing and our experienced employees' mentoring of the younger colleagues shall not perish in the empty offices." 

he tone sharpens

It raised attention and angry outcries when Goldman Sachs' chief executive Davis Solomon last spring called the remote working of companies and employees "a derailment which we urgently will have to get corrected".

Thus, the American investment bank announced in September that it will need all employees permanently back in the offices as long as covid remains manageable, but that the bank will respect employees' use of hybrid agreements.


Office occupancies in several US cities are below 50%, and companies´ struggles to
get their employees back into the offices are noticeably intensifying.    


At the end of August, office occupancies in the vast majority of US cities, with New York City in the lead, was still below, in several cases considerably below 50%.   

But now the companies' struggles to get employees back into the office premises are intensifying. The tone sharpens, and the atmosphere becomes noticeably heated.  


Studies by the American research institute Gartner confirm that most employers do not require the employees to return to the physical office for productivity reasons, but to protect their company culture, collaboration and mentoring - their crucial knowledge sharing between experienced and young employees. 

The same surveys underline, however, that company culture and collaboration will not necessarily nor automatically optimize by companies drumming their employees firmly together 40 hours a week behind the same walls.



Mentoring and crucial knowledge sharing are some of employers' most important
arguments for demanding employees return to their office environments. 


"If employers think that simply ordering employees back to the office can trump collaboration and cohesion, they are making a fatal mistake. This strategy will never solve challenges with either teamwork or company culture. 

"This is why we have committed ourselves to set our global employees free to choose the ways of working that match their lifestyle the very best - regardless of where and how," the head of the PC manufacturer Dell, Michael Dell, says.  ●

Read more: Will return to office get serious in September Bosses want workers back by Labor Day The battle to get workers back to the office is heating up The return-to-office debate - asking all the wrong questions








Search premisesCreate a search agentwhite-paper-banner
Our memberships
  • Matchoffice membership logo
  • Matchoffice membership logo