Should retailers ask workers to return to their offices?
LVMH is instructing Tiffany’s corporate staff to return to offices two days a week beginning at the start of March. The decision comes as the arrival of vaccines has corporations exploring when, how and whether to bring office workers back.
LVMH acquired Tiffany on Jan. 7 and believes in-office workers will speed the merger’s transition and support a collaborative culture, according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Gap Inc. is consolidating Old Navy’s Mission Bay offices into the parent’s headquarters along the Embarcadero. The move supports “flexibility” for staff amid the shift to remote work due to the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Salesforce announced that it is giving employees three work options. Some who don’t require an office will work remotely full-time. “Flex” workers will work in the office up to three days a week to support collaboration, customer meetings and presentations. The smallest portion will work in a location four to five days per week if their roles require it.
Another Journal report, published yesterday, said Qurate Retail, the parent of QVC and HSN, recently shifted its planned May return to offices to September at the earliest due to a slower-than-hoped vaccine rollout.
Post-pandemic surveys show the majority of employees are seeking more options to support work/life balance. Many claim the transition has been easy and they’ve been more productive due to fewer distractions.
Eliminating office space would save money for corporations, although it’s still debatable whether traditional office benefits of fostering collaboration, mentoring and evaluating employees for promotions can be accomplished to the same degree virtually.
A Pew survey taken in October found 65 percent of workers new to teleworking due to the pandemic feel less connected to their coworkers. Among more seasoned teleworkers, only 27 percent felt that way. Younger teleworkers were found to be more likely to say they’ve had a hard time feeling motivated to do their work and parents with young children had a harder time getting work done at home.
Cushman & Wakefield research found that, although many survey results indicate that people want to work from home for half of their working time or longer, the sentiment is expected to reverse once the pandemic is over as FOMO (fear of missing out) leads many to believe their careers are being hampered by fewer in-person interactions.
- LVMH Tells Tiffany Staff to Return to Office Two Days a Week – The Wall Street Journal
- LVMH completes the acquisition of Tiffany & Co. – LVMH
- Old Navy to shut San Francisco headquarters, move in with Gap – San Francisco Chronicle
- Creating a Best Workplace from Anywhere, for Everyone – Salesforce
- How the Coronavirus Outbreak Has – and Hasn’t – Changed the Way Americans Work – Pew Research
- Cushman & Wakefield highlights office market trends: hybrid work, flexible spaces and redesigns – Executive Magazine
- Kastle Access Control Data Shows Occupancy Rates On the Rise Nationwide – Kastle
- COVID-19 vaccines move back-to-the-office plans closer to reality. Here are some key challenges for 2021. – Chicago Tribune
- Dreading or dreaming of a return to the office in 2021 – The Washington Post
- Nearly 30% of working professionals would quit if they had to return to office after pandemic – USA Today
- Is Remote Work Here to Stay? [2021 Study] – Live Career
- It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done – PWC
- Another Remote-Work Year Looms as Office-Reopening Plans Are Delayed – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see most corporate workers returning to offices as the pandemic eases, continuing to work remotely or shifting to a hybrid set-up? What might retail’s corporate staff lose with a strong shift to remote working following the pandemic?