Employee Who Was Hired For Remote Role Is Told They Have To Commute To The Office Or “Resign”

Once you’ve had a taste of the luxurious work from home life, the idea of returning to an office might sound like a nightmare. Going from sleeping in 30 extra minutes each morning and having a relaxed cup of coffee in your kitchen to commuting through rush hour traffic to drink burnt coffee in a cubicle is not an easy transition.

So when one employee, who was originally hired to be fully remote, was told that they would soon have to start showing their face in the office, they decided to share their story online as a cautionary tale. Below, you’ll find the full post that was recently shared on r/Antiwork, as well as some of the replies invested readers left.

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Three years ago, this person was hired to be a fully remote employee

Image credits: Nataliya Vaitkevich (not the actual photo)

Today, however, they’re being pressured to start commuting or give up their position

Image credits: CadoMaestro (not the actual photo)

Later, the worker added a few more details to their post for clarification

Image credits: u/Sir_apoc

Remote work has become extremely popular in recent years

Image credits: Tima Miroshnichenko (not the actual photo)

Prior to the pandemic, many companies had never even considered what it would be like to have their employees stay home and work remotely. But over the last few years, businesses worldwide have completely revamped their structures and many have realized that working remotely may be the way of the future. As of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work remotely, and nearly a third have a hybrid model, Forbes reports. It’s also estimated that by 2025, 32.6 million Americans will be working fully remotely. This should come as no surprise, though, when you consider that a whopping 98% of workers prefer to work from home at least some days. 

According to the Pew Research Center, one third of workers in the US who are allowed to work from home now do so all of the time. When it comes to why employees often prefer working remotely, 71% told Pew Research that it helps them balance their work and personal lives, and 56% say it makes it easier to get work done and meet deadlines. Allowing employees to work remotely can even provide benefits for employers, as they can spend less on maintaining office spaces, their employees are likely to be more productive at home, absenteeism is reduced, more applicants will apply for remote positions, and it allows the company to be better prepared for disasters.

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Many workers are now unwilling to ever return to offices

Image credits: Proxyclick Visitor Management System (not the actual photo)

Despite all of the benefits workers and companies have seen from allowing employees to work remotely in recent years, some are still insistent on forcing employees to return to the office. Or, in the case of this person on Reddit, force employees into the office for the very first time. But according to a 2022 survey from Reli Exchange, a quarter of employees being asked to return to the office, at least part-time, have refused to comply with their employers’ requests, even if it results in their termination. And when it comes to what rights employees have when being asked to return to the office, Danielle Abril at the Washington Post says it depends on several factors. Employees might not have any technical, legal protection when their bosses demand that they start commuting, but there can be strength in numbers.   

Robin Samuel, a partner in the employment practice at Baker McKenzie based in California, told the Washington Post that employers are more likely to be “sensitive to employees” when there’s a risk of a labor shortage. “They don’t want to fire everybody. That will hurt them,” Samuel says. So workers are encouraged to have conversations with their employers and raise their concerns before deciding to up and leave their jobs. Catherine Fisk, faculty director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Work, also says that the best way to advocate for flexible work environments is to prove to management that remote workers are just as valuable, if not more, than those working from the office.

Companies technically can demand that their workers start commuting, but it’s not always in their best interest

Image credits: Sora Shimazaki (not the actual photo)

Unfortunately, when it comes to positions being changed from remote to hybrid or fully in the office, it appears that companies do have the power to change their minds and expect employees to just follow suit. Especially when someone is on an “at will” employment contract, their employer has the legal right to change working arrangements, or fire employees, at any time. “If a worker wants to ensure a job they’re taking remains remote or hybrid (meaning working part-time from the office) for the long term, their best protection is a contract,” Abril explains for the Washington Post. “That could be a separate contract spelling out the terms of the remote/hybrid work arrangement, it could be included in the offer letter the employee signs upon hiring or part of a union contract.”

In this particular case on Reddit, many readers have encouraged the employee to continue working until they’re fired and to keep meticulous records of communication about the change in their position and their concerns about having to commute to the office. Perhaps that will help them be able to retain their position, despite their current frustrations. We would love to hear your thoughts on this situation in the comments below, pandas. Have you ever been forced to start working in the office after being hired in a remote role? Feel free to share down below, and then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article discussing remote work, look no further than right here!

Readers shared messages of support and encouraged the worker to stand their ground

The post Employee Who Was Hired For Remote Role Is Told They Have To Commute To The Office Or “Resign” first appeared on Bored Panda.
Source: boredpanda.com

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