The boss is back, but the workers stay home

Such is the commitment of Chesley Maddox-Dorsey to the job of CEO of the American Urban Radio Network that he has been working daily from the company’s Manhattan office for the past nine months without receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

With the epidemic easing ը With New York City reopening, Maddox-Dorsey is considering how to get his employees back, many of whom have learned to work from home over the past year.

“I think it will be more delicate than that,” he said, when asked if the vaccine alone would be enough to convince staff to resume office life. He noticed about his general directors of partners. “I think it’s a little scary for all of us to realize that not everyone has the same desire to come to the office as we do.”

Leaders of New York City’s “other big cities” have returned to offices that are often the seat of power, the most cherished environment. However, statistics show that their employees do not feel the same attractiveness, be it due to health problems, lack of childcare or the misery of vehicle compensation.

As of May 5, a “working back” barometer published by office security maker Kastle Systems showed only 16.3 percent of New York office employment, up 0.1 percent from a week earlier, just a few percentage points from November.

“They’re trying to figure out how to get them back, who they can really push,” said Ruth Kolp-Haber, chief executive of Wharton Property Advisors, about CEOs who consult with her about their companies’ property needs.

David Rubenstein, CEO of Rubenstein Partners Commercial Real Estate, agreed. “Most CEOs are back, they want their workforce back.”

Competitive perceptions of the future workplace are at stake և the degree of flexibility that employees must have to decide where and how they are doing their job. Or, as Colp-Haber predicted in a recent customer post, “a class war over hybrid workloads may soon come to your office.”

The result is vital for cities like New York, which have built their economies on densely packed office towers and investors who own such buildings. If more people work from home, the demand for office space may decrease, and the property may cost much less. Rents are already under pressure due to the large amount of unwanted space that companies are wasting on the sub-rental market.

New York lunch hour.  Return of workers is possible for cities that have built economies on densely packed office towers

New York lunch. Return of Employees Important for Cities Building Economy on Densely Packed Office Towers © Amir Hamja / Bloomberg

This is not the first time the epidemic has upset the balance of labor management. After the death of the SS in Europe in the 14th century, leaving the fields without a farm, landowners were forced to provide better wages and conditions for slaves.

In recent days, several companies have issued orders to return to the employee office. JPMorgan Chase: became the first major financial company to set a firm date, telling employees last month that it expects the most in July. (Perhaps this is not surprising, as the bank is building a new 2.5 m2 square foot headquarters on Park Avenue). Blackstone and Goldman Sachs and others followed suit.

In a recent letter to staff Google: CEO Sundar Pichai predicts that 60 percent of his workforce will spend a few days a week in the office, with 20 percent permanently away and another 20 percent in the office full-time.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Yahoo Finance that he expects 80 percent of the staff to choose a hybrid model, which will take a year or more to resolve.

In particular, some executives say they tend to turn the screws, but fear that this could lead to talented workers being drawn to competitors who are willing to provide more flexibility.

“I would say that the head of HR and the CEO of many companies are now having discussions,” said Rubenstein, who believes that most employees will return to office by September, if not sooner. At that time, schools should reopen, at least in the United States, in the United Kingdom, and vaccines will be available to anyone who wants them.

“I do not believe that there will be a huge change in the sea,” he said. “People want to be surrounded when decisions are made, events happen.”

But Phil Kirschner, who led WeWork’s awareness of large companies and is now a workplace consultant, is seeing drastic changes. According to him, the epidemic has simply confirmed the transition to a more flexible working life, which has been carried out for years, but which many managers have refused to accept.

“The desire for more flexibility is not new. “What prevents this is the leaders who want to see the employees in front of them to make sure they are effective,” he said. “And now that bandage has been torn off.”

Even before the epidemic, power changed as companies fighting for talented young workers joined the arms race for “convenience” in an effort to make their offices more attractive to the new generation. In a world where luxury coffee, yoga rooms, massages, grocery deliveries are now available և outdoor space de rigorFlexibility – the ability to work remotely, at least for a fraction of the time – is an incentive.

“Companies have to work harder than ever to make it really compelling to work for them,” Kirschner explained, describing the mindset of young employees as follows: “I used to have to work in an office, but not now. So you have to convince me why I should do it. ”

Nadir Setles, who controls 6 square meters of New York office space, has a similar view. His company invests in the hotel-like comfort of its offices. “Whoever has the best combined environment will meet the employees, who will win,” he said.

Others talk about child care and medical care. In New York, where public transportation is a major barrier, some are considering tax incentives for travelers.

Some jobs are more flexible than others. A programmer, for example, who can do most of the task on his own. Unlike a marketing executive who is constantly in touch with others.

Like many executives, Maddox-Dorsey says he is ready to tolerate more flexibility after Covid, but is concerned that the coordination and collaboration needed to produce and sell radio programs will suffer.

“In order to have an instant opinion with team members, you all need to be involved at the same time,” he said. “So if you have people who decide at the beginning of the week what day they are coming, it seems to us that we are working more towards individual schedules rather than having a common goal as a company of what we are. we try to implement. »

He also discovers that it is not clear who should be in the office and who should not. An older employee with deep company experience և relationships may not make sense to travel long distances to spend time or do chores that could just as easily be done from home. Even less if they have small children.

But their absence can deprive younger employees of the opportunity to work alongside them. “It is a personal choice, but what we as executives have to do is manage countless personal elections,” he said. “Sometimes they are diametrically opposed.”

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