Is this the last Labor Day for remote workers?

51% of companies have already gone back to the office at least a few days a week and 90% will do so before the end of 2024. Amazon and Meta are even threatening layoffs.

With new lockdowns approaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home became necessary in order for companies to continue operating. After the end of the public health emergency, experts predicted that "teleworking is here to stay," and millions of people chose to continue working from home. Three years later, companies have decided enough is enough. The majority (51% of companies) require their employees to go to the office at least a few days a week. Some, like Amazon and Meta, have even threatened to lay off employees who refuse. By 2024, 90% of businesses are expected to go back to the office.

During these last few years, working from home has become a heated debate between employers and staff. On the one hand, many job offers incentivize potential candidates with the option to work from home. Some reduced the number of days that workers had to go into the office. Many people changed jobs prioritizing this aspect, giving them greater flexibility. However, employers have been putting pressure on employees to get back to the office, at least part-time. Others have threatened to lay off workers who refuse.

Amazon: Work from the office or leave

Last week the CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy, sent a strongly worded message to his workers who have been hesitant about returning to the office for months: get on board or look for another job. In a recording of the meeting, obtained by Insider, the CEO, after acknowledging that he had no data to justify his decision, snapped at his employees:

It's past the time to disagree and commit. And if you can't disagree and commit, I also understand that, but it's probably not going to work out for you at Amazon because we are going back to the office at least three days a week, and it's not right for all of our teammates to be in three days a week and for people to refuse to do so.

Amazon tried to get office staff to gradually head back into the office, which was met with protests from employees. Last February, Jassy told workers that they needed to return to work for at least three days per week but was unsuccessful. For this reason, last month he presented a plan which consists of forcing employees to submit their voluntary resignation if they refuse to comply with this stipulation.

Meta justifies going back to the office with internal data

Meta is doing something similar. Mark Zuckerberg notified his employees in June that, as of September 5, those who do not make it into the office at least three days a week, would be fired. In March, the CEO justified his decision with internal studies that showed that people who work from the office perform better overall:

Our early analysis of performance data suggests that engineers who either joined Meta in person and then transferred to remote or remained in-person performed better on average than people who joined remotely. This analysis also shows that engineers earlier in their career perform better on average when they work in-person with teammates at least three days a week.

Zoom, the company that promoted working from home, heads back to the office

One of the companies that is getting the most attention is Zoom. The company, the undisputed leader of online meetings during the pandemic, has informed workers who live within 50 miles of a company office that they will need to go in at least two days a week.

Nine out of 10 companies will be back in the office by 2024

These are not the only companies with such policies. Starbucks has also had employees return to the office three days a week since January, while Apple implemented its policy in August. Disney is a bit more radical, asking its employees to return four days a week since January 2023. In total, according to a survey by Resume Builder, in 2024 90% of companies will require their workers go to the office at least a few days a week.

According to the survey data, 51% of companies have had their employees return to the office at least once a week, while 39% plan to implement similar policies before the end of next year. Of the remaining 10%, 8% are considering going to the office in 2025 and only 2% do not plan to return.