Execs aren't so sure anymore.
Show Me the Data!
In a rare moment of clarity — or even, dare we say, self reflection? — a whole bunch of executives have admitted that they may have been wrong about the whole return-to-office push made after the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, sort of.
In a Hanover Research and Envoy survey of over 1,100 senior executives and workplace managers in the United States, a whopping 80 percent answered that they would've "approached their company's return-to-office strategy differently" if they had the right "workplace data" at the time.
"Differently" could mean a lot of things, but it's not quite an admission of wrongdoing. The report, and by extension the execs, seem more annoyed by the lack of solid data on hybrid workplaces than they are concerned about employee satisfaction or the backlash they incurred.
Without that precious data, 23 percent of managers say they rely on their gut instinct instead. This is bad practice, says the joint report, because for hybrid workplaces, the mix of employees coming and going at different times a week makes it "impossible" for a manager to know how many employees are on site on a given day. The report follows this grave conclusion with a plug for its own AI-driven data service. Staying classy, as always.
Of course, instead of just bemoaning their unsatiated data fetishes and where it's led them, the execs could've just listened to their workers, many of whom were vocal about concerns over being forced to attend in person despite health, safety, and convenience issues. After all, many of these pushes were being made while the pandemic was still in full swing.
The tech industry, despite being uniquely well suited for remote work, has been notoriously bad about this.
Case in point: last April, a group of high-ranking employees at Apple declared their resignation after Apple refused to budge on its stringent policy requiring all employees work in person at least three times a week, a policy it had first attempted in the summer previous, not long before COVID would peak later that winter.
Tesla is another notable culprit, whose CEO Elon Musk harbors a well documented vendetta against remote workers. Ironically, and perhaps proving workers' points that a sweeping return-to-office policy would be both impractical and inconsiderate, Tesla's workplaces reportedly didn't even have enough desks, chairs, or parking spaces for returning employees.
Most recently, Google has considered cracking down on remote work even more than it has already. Whereas it has required three days in-person for the past year, it is now eyeing a full five day requirement, barring exceptional cases.
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