Employees have gotten used to working from home for the past year, but now that the pandemic is rounding the corner, many employers are eager to get their workforce back into the office. The problem: Your employees don’t want to come back.
81% want to stay home
Harvard Business School Online conducted a recent study and found a whopping 81% of employees either don’t want to return to the office at all, or only want to return on a part-time basis.
Besides the convenience of staying home, 33% of employees said their overall performance improved while working remotely, and another third reported they can focus better out of the office.
So what does this mean for employers? You might have a decent amount of employees dragging their feet if you ask them to return to work.
A lot of experts say remote work is here to stay, and employers need to be prepared to deal with an uptick in remote work requests.
Depending on the company, this could fill leaders with dread or enthusiasm. Those on board with remote work could recognize the competitive edge in recruiting it provides, or the opportunity for more diversity.
Those more hesitant about remote work may be tempted to deny employees’ remote requests, but there are certain situations where you need to consider them – such as when the ADA comes into play.
Before the pandemic, many employers assumed remote work wasn’t feasible and denied workers’ ADA accommodation requests. Now, it’s clear many more jobs can be done from home than previously thought.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explained that just because employers have been allowing remote work during the pandemic doesn’t mean they’re obligated to grant telecommuting requests afterward. However, firms should take these accommodation requests seriously and give them more thought than before.
Employers will need to go through the interactive process and evaluate how well the employee has been performing at home. After doing so, companies may have difficulty justifying a ban on remote work.
It’s crucial for employers to evaluate all these requests on a case-by-case basis to avoid any discrimination claims, and to refresh their work from home policies.