A recession could force more employees back to the office — or never return


The threat of recession in the midst of a shrinking economy may force employees to return to the office. Or the end of the office as we know it.

These are the two very different opinions that arise about the future of the labor movement from home, which has become a way of life for tens of millions of Americans during the pandemic. Something both parties agree on: literally, you can’t go home to the classic 9-to-5 shift job.

“If times get really tough, you’ll see more and more people being asked to go back to work. Power is being shifted to employers” moving from hiring to layoffs and using underused corporate campuses, Intuit Inc. INTU,
-4.55%
CEO Sasan Goodarzi told MarketWatch. His opinion is based on the comments of some of Intuit’s 120 million consumers and small businesses.

“A lot of CEOs I talk to believe that face-to-face is virtual,” Goodarzi said. As the economy shrinks a bit and people move from hiring to job cuts, and a possible recession, it’s possible to get back to work. ”

Intuit leaves the decision to his staff, who decide when to enter and how often.

“Employers have hesitated a bit because they didn’t want to lose their employees, but I think as you go into a recession and people are afraid of not having a job, that will get people back to the office.” real estate billionaires Stephen Ross, owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, told Bloomberg News earlier this month. “Employees will recognize as we go into a recession, or when things get a little tighter, that you have to do what it takes to keep your job and make a living.”

However, another school of thought raises a shrinking economy all the less cement a working model from permanent or hybrid home. It is the only logical solution that advances with the productivity and satisfaction of employees among workers at home and with the COVID-19 that will be extended over the coming years.

“The world outside the office is the most important social movement in our lives. We’ll never be back, “Phil Libin, CEO of All Turtles and mmhmm, told MarketWatch.” It’s not what people want. We’re out of the office forever. ”

40% of workers said they would rather leave their jobs than return to a full-time office, according to a mmhmm survey of 1,500 knowledge workers in March.

“There will be entrepreneurs with a lot of unused office space who will try to force people to come back,” Libin said. “They may have more leverage, yes, but they will lose productivity on commutes and less motivated workers.”

Yelp Inc. employees YELP,
-3.38%
they have spoken, and the executives there, overwhelmingly, “realized that the future of work at Yelp is remote. It’s the best for our employees and for our business,” the Yelp CEO said. Jeremy Stoppelman, in a blog post last week.

Since it reopened its offices, only 1% of Yelp’s 4,400 employees chose to return to the office daily, Stoppelman said. An internal survey illustrates why: 86% of respondents said they would prefer to work remotely most or all of the time, and 93% of employees and their managers said they can achieve their goals remotely. .

In fact, as Yelp has become a totally remote workplace, it closed “constantly underused offices” in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, and reduced its office footprint in Phoenix.

Often the state of work depends on work and function. For Eclipse Foods, a 25-person startup in Oakland, California, that created a plant-based, dairy-free ice cream, most product development must be in-person and in-person, according to the company’s CEO. Aylon Steinhart.

Ultimately, workers are reluctant to return to a 9-5 job and, if forced, will continue to resign. In April, 4.4 million people quit their jobs, roughly the same as in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next update is July 6th.

What to do with the empty office?

The pandemic fundamentally altered the way Americans worked. The number of people working from home almost doubled, to 42%, by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS,
-0.43%
Economists estimate that office attendance in major U.S. cities is only about a third of pre-pandemic levels.

This has posed profound challenges for high-tech companies such as Apple Inc. AAPL,
-2.98%,
Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL,
-3.30%

GOOG,
-3.47%
Google, parent company of Facebook Meta Platforms Inc. META,
-5.20%,
Microsoft Corp. MSFT,
-3.17%,
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN,
-5.14%
and others with millions of square feet of empty office space. They need to find a way to use it without aggravating many employees.

Some, like Tesla Inc. TSLA,
-5.00%,
he may have used the threat of returning to the office full-time or losing his job to force workers to resign on their own instead of announcing a significant downsizing. Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave that ultimatum before the company said it would likely lay off 10% of its workforce.

“Over the next month, we will see the most significant disruption in the labor market. The fall in the market, along with the Great Resignation and the changes companies made to deal with COVID, cannot be easily reversed,” Raphael said. Ouzan, CEO of A.Team, at MarketWatch. “The concept of hybrid won’t work as well because it requires a company to maintain the same overhead whether there are employees or not. Paying full space on Tuesdays and Thursdays for all employees doesn’t make sense.”

“We are increasingly heading for even more disruptions between employees and employers,” Ouzan said. “Demand for [highly-skilled tech workers] they will probably go up because they are fed up with the employment system ”.

In fact, one in five workers worldwide plans to resign in 2022, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers ’global survey of fears and hopes of the workforce.

The hybrid work schedule has proven to be a logistical mess as companies struggle to fill the excess space without losing talent. At the same time, in recent weeks workers have struggled to find work before the economy closes, Madeleine Nguyen, CEO of Talentdrop, told MarketWatch.

“It has become a case of‘ I will break up with you now before you break up with me later, ’” Nguyen said, describing the cautious dance between employees and employers.



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