The rebellion of the employees
When the employees in the most innovative company on the planet rally against their CEO because he wants them back in the office three days a week, it is a sign that it is not enough to be innovative in technology. When you read that employees from other large corporations would rather resign than give up work from home, you start to see the magnitude of things.
Why do we want people back in the office, anyway?
Because… and here some of the leaders talk about what they perceive to be the problems of remote work: loss of collaboration, the diminishing of the company’s culture, but also the fact that, as the CEO of JPMorgan Chase said in a conference, “it doesn’t work for those who want to hustle.”
Should you just tell the employees you want them back in the office? Only if you want to undermine your leadership and drive away your best talents exactly when, paradoxically, you want them next to you more than ever, working side by side in the office next door, so you can hear “the hum of activity of in-person working”, as Tim Cook wrote in his memo sent to Apple’s employees.
The people, however, are no longer the same as those before the pandemic. You can’t tell them anymore that they can’t work remotely, because they just did that for an entire year and they did it very well. You can no longer justify the time lost in traffic, the endless meetings, the lack of flexibility. Who will leave first? The best employees, of course. Those who can find a job as they wish because they are competitive on the market. Everyone else will probably stay. And they will be present in the office three days a week. And we will hear again “the hum of activity”.
The question is, do we really want that?