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We must get workers back into the office or risk economic upheaval

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Recently the Biden Administration ordered their Cabinet officials to “aggressively” push their employees to get back into the office this fall. And Zoom has just announced that they are asking their employees to be onsite at least two days a week.

These public avowals are, in part, a final and desperate push to save the real estate industry from the brink.

Back in April, the Biden administration promised Americans that they were implementing a push to get their employees back to work in person.  Now that time has come, and it has bipartisan support for many reasons. Most importantly, lawmakers and city officials are desperate to bring life back to their dying downtowns.

Remote work has led prime real estate in cities like Washington D.C. to become vastly underutilized, which has economic and environmental concerns.

We spend about $2 billion a year to maintain federal offices and $5 billion a year just to lease them. And these offices are currently at 25% capacity. That’s an egregious amount of waste, and it’s a similar story across the nation in other industries too.

The “aggressive” push from the Biden administration and from COVID cornerstone Zoom will set an example that Americans should not ignore.

The pandemic is over. Our country as we know it cannot thrive with the majority of us sitting at home in our pajamas. We have to get people back into the office or risk massive economic upheaval and the destruction of our most popular cities.

In addition to larger concerns, remote work has also lost its luster for employers.

A recent study showed that fully remote work leads to 10 to 20 percent less productivity compared to fully in-person work. That loss of productivity is not insignificant, especially after so many businesses struggled to survive in the past few years.

In addition, research shows that work-from-home employees are 66% more likely to say that they have no “work friends” and 33% less likely to have fewer social connections in the office. That type of camaraderie matters: Not only for their happiness and their desire to stay at a certain position, but also because it will impact the quality of the work they can achieve together.

All in all, employers should take these recent statements from President Biden and Zoom and run with it.

With fall coming, it is the perfect time to make the leap back to in-person or hybrid work.

Rob Wilson,

President of Employco USA

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