As companies set new back-to-work policies, many employees not ready or, in some cases, willing to return

LONG ISLAND — Those in the workforce may begin to see one pandemic perk come to an end.

Companies nationwide are setting new return-to-the-office policies.

But as CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, that doesn’t mean employees are ready or willing to return.

Labor Day signals back to work, but many of those who labor want bosses to back off demands they return to the office.

Working from home works for them.

“I think it’s working well and the thought of commuting again and being on the train and the time I would lose to that,” a man named Collen said.

FLASHBACKExperts break down what remote work will look like going forward, offer tips to home-based job seekers

Some say they’ll look elsewhere if there is an ultimatum, citing improved health and the environment, and more emphasis on life in the work-life balance.

“My office is my car, my home and my kitchen,” one person said.

“Spending time with my son when I have a break between clients,” another person said.

Yet, companies are eager to get back to face-to-face collaboration, focus and accountability.

“It’s time now to come back into the office,” said Kathy Kacher of Career Life Alliance Services.

But Kacher says there’s a big disconnect between what management may demand and employees want.

“Their ‘why’ hasn’t really resonated yet with the individuals, so that’s something they really need to think about, why are you asking people back? They had better physical health, better mental health, better work-life balance. It’s hard to argue with those outcomes as an organization,” Kacher said.

In one study, 97 percent of remote workers said it should stay that way. Others have shown increased productivity.

“Yes, much more. I work for myself. I set my own hours. I do as much work as I want to do when I want to do it,” said Norma Nichols of Rosedale.

John Mitchell is about to start a hybrid job.

“I know being human requires us to interact with one another,” said Mitchell, of Long Beach.

“Employers have struggled with things like performance management, holding employees accountable,” said John Coverdale of Center for Workplace Solutions.

Coverdale advises companies to open a dialogue with valued workers so that they feel some ownership over upcoming changes.

“Have collaborative trust-centered conversations with employees. Help determine time frame for hybrid or full return to the workplace,” Coverdale said.

Experts say we were always headed to remote work. The pandemic sped it up by perhaps a decade. Suddenly, values have changed and remote work, in some form, is here to stay. 

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