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Will A Recession Give Employers More Power?

Following July’s slightly optimistic job growth, leaders may have gained more power in getting employees to finally abide by their wishes: return to the office. 

Many analysts recently proclaimed that the U.S. economy was officially in a recession following two quarters of consecutive declines. However, the job growth rate has dispelled this rumor — for now. 

Business leaders are eager to bring their employees back into the office, and a recession could potentially give them the power to do so as workers clutch their wallets.  

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Still, a recession means that employers will need a higher return on investment for employees. Perhaps more importantly, employees do not want to come back to the office, but that hasn’t stopped leaders from persisting. 

“There’s a deeply personal reason why I want to go back to the office. It’s selfish, but I don’t care. I feel like I lost a piece of my identity in the pandemic… I’m worried that I won’t truly find myself again if I have to work from home for the rest of my life,” one executive wrote in a recent op-ed. 

The path to profitability and sustenance during a potential recession will inevitably require more discipline, but a full-office return shows willful ignorance to the data that has supported flexible work policies.   

A recent study from Stanford University shows that remote workers were 9% more productive than in-office workers last spring, a 4% increase from the numbers seen in the summer of 2020.   

Unsurprisingly, remote work also comes with its downfalls. One of the biggest being the lack of collaborative opportunities, which many leaders have expressed concerns over. 

However, a well-designed remote work policy can actually boost collaboration according to a recent peer-reviewed study. This means outlining the necessary protocols when it comes to virtual meetings, asynchronous work, as well as mental and financial support. 

Planning is key for a successful flexible future. Without addressing the clear gains this arrangement can provide, companies can risk losing out on their top talent and could fall behind during the economic downturn. 

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