Apple and Google want to reintroduce cubicles to remote workers. This conflict might result in a job exodus

Apple and Google want to reintroduce cubicles to remote workers. This conflict might result in a job exodus

With the arrivals of vaccines and relaxed health protocols, some workers transitioned back to offices, albeit masked and distanced and part-time. But with a statewide June 15 reopening date fast approaching, some companies are squeezing more workers to get back to their swivel chairs and microwaved office lunches.

The move to remote work at the onset of the pandemic last year happened virtually overnight, with shelter-in-place orders forcing office workers to abandon the spaces where they spent most of their waking hours, as if driven off by a nuclear meltdown. So people spent the next weeks and months reorganizing their lives and homes, carving offices out of bedroom corners and slipping in and out of home-schooling sessions for kids between calls, with former commute hours now devoted to myriad other household tasks.

But who has to come back to work — and when and where — is proving fraught as millions of workers face having a new way of living and working ripped away by managers requiring them to show up in person, or else. That tension could mean some workers leave for companies offering more flexibility and the ability to shed burdensome commutes in favor of time with family and friends.

One questionnaire run by Blind, a company that lets employees talk about their companies anonymously, found that of more than 3,000 workers surveyed, many of them at tech companies, more than half would prefer to stay working remotely rather than see a $30,000 annual uptick in their income.

LOCAL
Remote-work pioneer GitLab has this warning for companies…
BY CAROLYN SAID
Tech companies like search giant Google envision most employees coming into an office three days a week with some flexibility, and a percentage of workers staying remote for good. The company has previously said employees will stay at home until September but some can come in voluntarily before then.

Raksha Muthukumar is a Google software engineer and a member of the Alphabet workers union, comprised of about 800 employees and contractors at the Google parent company. She said returning to work three days a week would not be much of a burden for workers like her who live close to an office, but that others who have moved to different locations and enrolled kids in new schools could see it as a burden.

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