2 min read October 2021 — Over a year and a half into the pandemic, employers are still learning to adapt to the growing changes in not only the economy, but also the workforce. And they don’t necessarily like it.
The disconnect is becoming even more apparent as companies gear up for the busy holiday season amid a labor shortage, parading attractive offers in front of potential candidates. Amazon, for example, recently announced it was hiring 150,000 seasonal employees nationwide, with 3,000 of those positions pegged for the Twin Cities. The retailer is hiring workers to assist with stowing, picking, packing and shipping for the holidays, with the potential to transition to full-time careers.
But bringing remote-working staff back into its buildings has become an unexpected battle for the company. Initially, Amazon anticipated that its employees would return to the office full time in early 2021, according to a report in the Seattle Times. That expectation was then lowered to three days a week and the reopen date consequently pushed back from September 2021 to January 2022. Now, the January date has been dropped and Amazon’s directors will be responsible for making a team decision on remote work moving forward.
The company’s tough reopening stance was loosened and adjusted several times to accommodate not only the state of the pandemic but also the mindset of the staff. Many people are enjoying remote work and don’t necessarily want to come back to the office; at least not full time. And the reality, as highlighted in a Business Journals report, is that the disconnect between employees and employers has made it difficult to bridge the widening gap and come up with a solution.
Some employers, however, take a hard line on remote work. One of the most commonly cited reasons is employee effectiveness. It is much easier to keep an eye on what is being accomplished when the employee is in the same space. This has ushered in the use of employee-monitoring software, such as Intergard, which enables employers to monitor and track employee productivity. Other apps, such as Teamviewer, give employers remote control of their employees’ computers. But many employees argue they are much more effective at home, and studies from companies such as Bloomberg and Apollo Technical are in their favor.
Employers have also addressed their concerns about remote work as it relates to collaboration and mentorship with their employees. It is certainly more of a challenge to keep everyone on the same page out of the office. Organizational Change and Communications Consultant Karen Karatkiewicz told Invest: that defining core business hours and availability, even for remote employees, is key. “Our measures of success have changed. You need to be clear with staff on how they will be evaluated and how their success will be measured,” she said.