February 17, 2023

7 Negatives of Forcing People Into the Office

“Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world, from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24/7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries and continents.”
― Michael Dell

I keep hearing about more and more companies requiring their employees to return to the office. Oh, it’s not because of any performance reason. It’s because somebody got the idea their building looks too empty. Or perhaps they feel like they’re wasting an elaborate space they used to brag about to their friends. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable running a distributed team. Perhaps they don’t trust their people.

Whatever the reason, if you force people to work in an office when they could work from anywhere, you’re bound to run into downsides.

Here are the seven biggest negatives of forcing your people to come into the office:

  1. Missing out on top talent. If you’re not hiring remote workers, you’ll miss out on top talent. There are great people who can’t or won’t work in an office.
  2. Higher attrition. People who are not given the freedom to work when and where they are most productive are more likely to look for a job elsewhere.
  3. Lost productivity. Long commutes, distractions, and office politics all add up to less effective employees.
  4. Poor morale. When people feel their employer doesn’t trust them morale plummets.
  5. Increased stress. Limiting time and location flexibility increases employee stress as they try to balance work and home life.
  6. Increased costs. More people in the office means more overhead for space, utilities, furniture, and office supplies.
  7. Lower employee engagement. When employees aren’t given the freedom to work where choose, they end up disconnected from their team and their work.