Returning to the office

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Dear Sir

Perhaps, the global economy is moving towards a recession. A horrid word I know, but every decade or so it appears like an unwanted house guest.

Will a recession bring people back into the office? After two years of working from home, if you had that safety privilege-opportunity, many of us will be invited or perhaps forced to return to the office.

A Pew Research Center survey(2020) found that 64 percent of respondents polled had been working from home due to office closures due to the pandemic. By January 2022, 61percent was doing it because they wanted to. Employers allowed and even encouraged working from home while studying their employee’s progress and output.

Now we have found that we live in a job seekers marketplace, with companies offering higher wages and better perks to attract and keep potential employee’s. The “great resignation” of 2020-2021 has become the “great labour slackening” where employers feeling emboldened-half of these employers believe in-office workers are more productive.

Many in the market believe employee’s will return to the office space, fearing the possibility of being laid off by employers requiring a sense of control and management. The same survey found that 14 percent of those who have returned to the office feared losing work opportunities while at home.

The Canadian National Society of High School Scholars found 63 percent of their membership wanted to go back to the office, while 23 percent considered working from home.

A recession places most businesses in a particularly difficult situation, that would not go well for their employee’s. Recessions traditionally bring with it cost-cutting avenues, repealing benefit packages, various benefits to the employee and staff, layoffs and terminations.

Working from home also grants employers added benefits. Employee’s that work half-time at the office and their home office can save an employer $11,000 annually, while a full-time employee working from home would save them more. Negotiations between employers and employee’s working from home have and will carry on, where a person’s annual wage/salary will decline.

The privilege of working at home has a cost, that of lower wages. Working from home can save an individual as much as $4-5,000 annually.

Businesses and employee’s have to consider what is best for themselves. The cost of hiring and retraining employee’s is very high, especially in this labor void we work in today.

A possible work-from-home strategy may be on its way, encouraged by governments, environmentalists and sociologists. The possible benefits such as less stress, driving to work, health and safety issues, and improved communication systems will certainly increase the likelihood that home-based work is a future trend.

Steven Kaszab

Bradford, Ontario

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