Working from home is a detriment to future career progress, especially for new employees, warned Ken Griffin, the manager and CEO of Citadel LLC, a multinational hedge fund and the largest market maker in the US.
He warned that working from home leads to giving up on crucial experiences that are needed later in one’s career. “If you are early in your career, you are making a grave mistake not being back at work," Griffin said Monday during a conversation with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker at the Economic Club of Chicago.
“It’s incredibly difficult to have the managerial experiences and interpersonal experiences that you need to have to take your career forward in a work-remotely environment."
“So for our youngest members of our workforce, I’m gravely concerned that the loss of early career development opportunities is going to cost us dearly over the decades to come," he said.
Companies are slowly calling their employees back to the office to either start working full-time from the office or to shift to a hybrid mode of working. However, the resurgence of cases caused by the Delta variant has halted plans to return to offices.
Companies that have still gone through with employees returning to office have instead faced elevated turnover rates. Many have taken to call these elevated attrition rates the ‘Great Resignation’.
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Griffin suggests that businesses are in fear of being persecuted for asking their employees to “go back to work”. “If you talk to other CEOs, they live in fear of how we’ll be publicly persecuted from delivering the straightforward message: It’s time to go back to work," he said.
“We need it for our government workers, we need it for our corporate leaders," he said. “We as a country, it’s time to get back at it." While Griffin remains a staunch supporter of calling everyone back to the office for work, the actual effects of working from home on the workforce are complicated and nuanced. With the world shifting to WFH models almost overnight in the light of the restrictions of the pandemic, companies raced to find out what this could mean for their bottom line. Research into productivity, motivation, burnout and other factors were undertaken by researchers, analysts and companies alike.
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But instead of clarity, research so far has only provided the answer that the question of WFH or WFO is more complicated than one would imagine. Advocates of WFH models highlight increased productivity, less time wasted on commutes, better work-life balance due to having more time, the flexibility of managing work commitments with other responsibilities, less time wasted on idle chit-chat in the office as benefits of working from home.
On the flip side, detractors point out that longer working hours, lack of collaboration and creativity, and lack of social interaction with work colleagues as major hurdles.
While research shows that productivity does indeed increase as a result of working from home, many also acknowledge the fact that the true measure of how successful a WFH model is dependent on the trust that an organisation has in its employees as well as the general line of work for employees. Knowledge workers seem to enjoy greater benefits from WFH models, and the importance of collaboration and social osmosis is also questioned in such cases.
With the possibility of COVID-19 turning into an endemic as vaccination rates increase, companies will need to figure out solutions that serve them and their employees the best, with perhaps flexibility in working arrangements becoming the perfect middle ground for both sides.
(Edited by : Anilkumar Narayan)