in the US many employees refuse to return to the office, and they are getting away with it

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Teleworking is in sharp decline throughout the world, and many professionals have been facing a tough choice in recent months: be forced to return to the office, as their bosses impose, or quit their jobs in search of a job that allows them to perform their tasks remotely. In the United States, however, a significant number of professionals have opted for a third way: declaring themselves in absentia and continuing to work from home, disobeying the orders of their superiors. And many are doing well.

How? According to a study on remote work in the United States carried out by WFH Research, collected by Business Insider, in companies that have teleworked during the pandemic and now require returning to the office five days a week, 51% of employees have failed to comply with the order. And in those companies that only require attendance for part of the week, 19% of professionals attend less than they should.

This, which under normal circumstances would be a reason for, at the very least, a disciplinary sanction, and could even end up in dismissals, is hardly having any consequences. Because the circumstances are not normal: it is one thing to fire or sanction one or two employees, but when half of the workforce has rebelled over teleworking, things get complicated. In fact, that same study indicates that only 12% of those surveyed say that their company has fired someone for refusing to go to the office.

They risk losing talent. Therefore, given the number of workers who refuse to return to the office, companies are having no choice but to consent to this rebellion while trying to reach consensus solutions. But this permissiveness does not only have to do with the large number of employees who would be affected by sanctions or dismissals for indiscipline, it also has a crucial influence on the shortage of talent, especially in certain sectors such as technology.

And it is that, despite the fact that in recent months several important companies have dealt with layoffs, and many others have frozen hiring that is not essential, the truth is that the US labor market is still quite competitive and the phenomenon of the Great Resignation shows no signs of exhaustion. In fact, in June of this year, the last month for which data is available, the numbers of resignations remained at the average of previous months: 4.2 million, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And in a poll carried out by the consulting firm McKinsey and published last July, 40% of the workers questioned continued to assure that they were thinking of leaving their jobs.

Spain. In Spain, as far as we know, this situation has not occurred at the moment. In our country it is much more complicated because the law that regulates teleworking gives greater guarantees to both workers and employers. If the company and employees have signed an agreement to work remotely without a deadline, the company cannot require the professional to return to the office, at most it can negotiate a review of that agreement with him.

But this law only protects workers who have signed an agreement of these characteristics, and the data shows that they are very few. According to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA), the percentage of employees who have teleworked for more than half the week in the second quarter of 2022 has fallen almost to pre-pandemic levels: only 6.9% of all professionals in our country. In 2019 that percentage was 4.8%, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Spain in the face of the great setback in teleworking: more and more large companies ask for more office days

The germ of a rebellion. This figure shows that teleworking in our country is in clear decline, since the percentage of employees who use it for more than half the week has not stopped falling since it reached the historical peak of 16.2% during the second quarter of 2020. A circumstance that is bothering many workers who consider that they can carry out their tasks perfectly from home, as they have done in some periods during the last two years.

In fact, a LinkedIn survey published at the end of April reflected this discomfort and found that 21% of Spaniards had already left their jobs due to the lack of labor flexibility in their companies, and 28% indicated that they were thinking of doing so for the same reason.

This lack of flexibility, which has a lot to do with the option of being able to telework, is also the first reason that pushes professionals in our country to resign today, according to LinkedIn, ahead of other aspects that have traditionally had more weight , such as the refusal to raise salaries, the toxic work environment, the bad relationship with the boss or the lack of motivation with the position.

Image | Vlada Karpovich

Teleworking is in sharp decline throughout the world, and many professionals have been facing a tough choice in recent months:…

Teleworking is in sharp decline throughout the world, and many professionals have been facing a tough choice in recent months:…

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