Desk Sharing Is Preventing Workers From Returning To The Office
From Malcolm Gladwell to Elon Musk, many well-known thought leaders and tech entrepreneurs are vocal about their distaste for remote working.
Gladwell, a journalist and author, is himself a remote worker, but doesn’t think it’s a great move for everyone else. Speaking on the Diary of a CEO podcast last year, he said working at home is not in people’s “best interest”, and that “If you’re just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work life you want to live?”
Tesla CEO Musk has been far more direct, recently saying that tech workers are a laptop class who are living in “la la land.” He dug in deeper, and while he said “there are some exceptions”, he thinks that working from home is a “moral issue”.
Ouch. And even TV personality and businesswoman Martha Stewart has taken a trenchant swipe at remote and hybrid work. Stewart said she was on a “rampage” to get people back to the office.
“You can’t possibly get everything done working three days a week in the office and two days remotely. Look at the success of France with their stupid … you know, off for August, blah blah blah.” She added, “That’s not a very thriving country. Should America go down the drain because people don’t want to go back to work?”
It’s easy for business leaders to make sweeping statements about how they’d like things to go. But for the people doing the jobs, aka the workers, it turns out that they actually really like remote or flexible work arrangements.
In APAC, a Global Hybrid Work Survey found that around 43% of people in the region worked in a hybrid arrangement for the first time during the pandemic, compared to the pre-pandemic figure of 78% of workers doing no remote days.
Cisco’s Global Hybrid Work Study 2022 found that 65% of employees across ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) believed that their work quality has improved while working hybrid.
The effects go beyond work, with 86% saying relationships with family have improved, 73% are saving more than four hours a week, and workers’ mental and physical health has benefitted too.
With companies needing to look at the bottom line more than ever before, pressure is mounting for employees to be back in the office––at least a couple of days a week.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has said that “We should be good stewards of financial resources. We have expensive real estate. And if they’re only utilized 30% of the time, we have to be careful in how we think about it”.
Research from workplace experience company Leesman found that knowledge corporations have a 50% peak occupancy during the week. That is leading many companies to instigate a 1:2 desk sharing ratio, which not only maximizes efficiency, but helps to save on costs.
The issue is workers don’t much like it. They feel less ownership, and because they can’t add any personal touches to their desks, this leads to a colder, more clinical environment.
Experts who have been studying desk sharing since 2006 say that it doesn’t really work. Because people tend to gravitate towards the desks they prefer, once that happens a few times, co-workers start to recognize who sits where, meaning those desks become effectively assigned.
Look for a new job
When return to office and desk sharing mandates are rigidly enforced, workers will vote with their feet. The ADP Research Institute found that 64% of the global workforce said that they would consider looking for a new job if their employer wanted them back in the office full-time.
It’s no surprise then that many workers are looking for new opportunities. To discover a job that offers the flexibility you want, check out the Techwire Asia Job Board. It’s filled with thousands of jobs to discover, like the three below.
Adobe is looking for an Asia Senior Sales Operations Analyst in Singapore. Here, you’ll accelerate best sales business practices and maximize market opportunities to drive corporate strategies and sales success. This will include partnering with the sales teams to define, land and execute against strategic priorities for the region. If you have seven years’ of work experience in operations or related fields, you can apply here.
A Mobile App Developer (Flutter) is being sought at Involve Asia Technologies Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur. You’ll be a talented and passionate mobile application engineer, and will work closely with the product, UX/UI and backend teams to design, build and extend consumer and/or partner facing new products, platforms and features for Android/iOS software components. A Bachelor’s degree and up-to-date modern mobile application development knowledge are required. See more information here.
In Sydney, Salesforce is looking for a Business Development Representative – Slack to join its ANZ Mid Market sales team. You will be responsible for evangelizing the value of Slack to new mid market prospects, as well as working with existing customers to drive adoption and the value they derive from the platform. You’ll need business acumen, consultative selling and prospecting skills. See all the requirements now.
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