Can your employer force you to return to work? Jane receives a letter from a frustrated worker who wants her employer to overstep federal guidelines and asks people to return to work.
I work in a small startup in New York and am quite frustrated with the reluctance of most of my colleagues to join the back office even though they have been offered a hybrid option. They can choose which days they want to work in the office in a week.
The frustrating thing is that most of them just walk any day with no schedule. I started working before the vaccination campaign, and I’m coming in three days and working from home for two, like a few others.
Despite the vaccination and all the Covid-19 precautions in place, colleagues are reluctant to come to work. As a result, all work is delayed and nothing is done on time.
The boss just had a baby; therefore, she is not interested in enforcing strict rules.
While the days of being in the office full time are over, it is still a valuable place for networking, team building and maintaining a strong corporate culture. It seems people have gotten used to the idea of staying home and see it as a viable option. Career advancement seems to have taken a step back. Moreover, there is no direction from above. What should I do about all of this?
As you yourself have admitted, the days of ordinary functions are over. People have realized that most of the work can be done offsite and that you don’t have to go to the office every day.
You have to remember that not everyone is faced with the same situation. With the closure of schools, daycares have become a necessity. Both partners must be present to share the workload, household chores and childcare. You being a unique millennial, work to your advantage.
In addition, COVID-19 has not been completely eradicated. Come winters, it is thought that there could be a resurgence. People with unvaccinated children are reluctant to expose them on their way to work and perhaps bringing the virus home.
The reluctance therefore seems justified. It’s not that people don’t value their careers, but people put life choices first.
Don’t you think coming back to the office before the shots was a hasty and risky decision too?
Additionally, many people find that working from home can be more productive and fulfilling. In addition, they feel more relaxed because they are at home with their families.
It is agreed that being in the office makes it easier to collaborate, network and schedule work, but for now, the benefits of working from home far outweigh those of working on site.
Your objections seem to be more personal than the obstacles to the job, which seem to be going well at a slower pace.
It seems at the moment; the workplace policy is to allow anyone who wants to work from home. If you feel like rescheduling your days at the office, coordinate your days with the people you need to see in the office. Ask them to come on the day you are in the office.
Beyond that, as a manager, you have a professional obligation to consider perspectives other than your own. If it works for you, it might not work for others. A good manager learns to adapt, delegate and take feedback into account.
The pandemic has shown us that empathy and patience are important in difficult times.
Brutal and straightforward answers to HR questions and concerns. Send your questions with the subject line “Ask JANE HARPER” to [email protected]