Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been working remotely for the majority of 2020. Some major companies — including Twitter, Facebook and Zillow — have announced that certain categories of their employees can work from home indefinitely, even when it’s fully safe to return to the office. Other companies — like Uber, Google and Amazon — are anticipating a return to the office at some point in 2021.
If you’ve gotten used to working from home, you may not want to return to the office — and you’re not alone in that feeling. A survey conducted earlier this year by Global Workplace Analytics found that 76% of global employees want to continue working from home at least two days a week. However, depending on where you work, you might have to face the reality that you will be returning to the office eventually — and your employer might have a valid reason for requiring that. Here are a few reasons your company won’t let you work from home forever.
Your Employer Has an Existing Lease
Commercial lease agreements are typically long-term — in the range of three to 10 years — and they can be expensive to get out of. Pinterest made headlines earlier this year for paying $89.5 million to terminate its San Francisco office lease, SFGate reported.
If your company is in the middle of a lease agreement it can’t get out of without paying an exorbitant fee, it makes sense that it would want to make sure that the office space it’s paying for isn’t going to waste.
Your Company Wants To Bring Back the Social Aspects of Work
Many companies have been able to maintain — or even increase — productivity as employees work from home, but there could be a cost to this. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has said that he feared increased productivity could lead to burnout, according to The New York Times.
“How long-lasting is that?” he said of the company’s improved efficiency. “What does burnout look like? What does mental health look like?”
He also lamented the loss of social interaction among co-workers and worried that companies like Microsoft were “burning some of the social capital we built up in this phase where we are all working remote.”
While you may be able to do your job effectively from home, your employer may want you back in the office for the social benefits this provides.
Working From Home Isn’t the Ideal Situation for Some Employees
Although the majority of employees around the world said they would like to continue to work from home, at least part of the time, not all employees prefer the remote work setup. Perhaps they don’t have a dedicated quiet space in their home if their living space is crowded with other family members or roommates. Maybe they’re easily distracted and work better in an office setting. Or, for people who live alone, going into an office might be a much-desired way to get social interaction.
With these circumstances in mind, your employer may want to make working in an office an available option for those who want to do so, rather than going fully remote.
Your Company Relies Heavily on Collaboration
Sure, you can hop on a Zoom meeting or chat in Slack when you need to collaborate with other co-workers on a project, but it’s not quite the same as meeting in person. It also requires more planning than popping by someone’s desk or office, or staging an impromptu meeting when you see your team members are available. If your job is very collaborative, it makes sense that your company would want everyone back in the office ASAP.