Many employees were hired during the pandemic on promises of being able to continue working from home.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 9, 2022.
The pandemic has changed the dynamic of work environments, possibly for good. Many offices were initially forced to adapt to the pandemic and asked employees to work from home as a result. As the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic waned, businesses re-opened and many companies offered flexible options to employees in the wake of the health crisis. But, some companies have strictly demanded that employees return to the office. The pandemic has seen employees become more cognizant of their own rights, which has forced many companies and bosses to adapt. From better pay and benefits to providing a healthy work environment, companies are finally being made to work to keep their workforce. One employee claimed that their boss forced them to return to work from the office before instantly regretting it, according to Bored Panda.
"For a short while last year, I worked as a team lead for one of the app development teams for one of the food delivery apps. The entire team had been working from home since the start of the pandemic and had a bunch of remote-only people joins. They were spread across several time zones, but we made it work because we thought this was how things were going to be going forward," they wrote on Reddit.
Although the operations were going on smoothly, the company allegedly decided to scrap the work-from-home option for employees despite hiring many on the basis that the company would be flexible on such matters. "After making several billion dollars from people like us working from home and ordering delivery, around the end of summer, the entire C-suite decided that COVID was pretty much over (spoiler: it definitely wasn't and all my people knew it) and that we would all be heading back to the office part-time, gradually increasing to full time. Now, this place had a pretty high turnover, so most of us had never been to any of the offices since we had been hired," they wrote.
Many employees were working from cities that didn't even have a branch office to work from, which meant they would have to relocate. "We had been told when we were hired that any return to work policy would be super flexible and it turned out it really wasn't. Moreover, those in cities without an office, even though they were hired as remote workers, were expected to come up with a 1-year plan about how they were going to move without any assistance or compensation to a city with an office," they wrote.
Employees were not impressed with the new policy that mandated returning to work. "So the CEO started doing town halls with the other executives to pump the 'collaboration' and 'team-building' aspects of being back in the office. During one of the Q&A sessions, someone finally asked something like 'I was hired remote and I don't live in a city with an office. I don't want to uproot my family. Will you make exceptions for people like me?' To which the CEO replied, 'Look. This is what we're doing and what we think is best for the company. If you want to work from home, my suggestion is to go work somewhere else.'"
Being forced to relocate by the company, employees allegedly decided to take their work elsewhere. "What happened next was the digital equivalent of the air being let out of a balloon. The company slack channel conversations ground to a halt and became virtual ghost towns, going from spirited conversations to the bare minimum of functional courtesies. The attendance at company-wide meetings fell by half and within a month, there was a veritable flurry of resignations, including mine. Prior to this debacle, we had already been paid below-market rates, so this F*ck You from the CEO was just the match being lit on an already pretty sizable tank of gas," they wrote.
The exodus took a massive hit on the company and the CEO was left feeling foolish as he scrambled to replace those jumping ships just as he had suggested. The employee added, "By the time I left, the team that started at 8 people was down to just two deciding to stay. And six months later, word is that they are still trying to find people and resorting to making QA people into app developers just to try to keep things going. As for me — I got a 50% pay bump for less responsibilities and work just a few hours a day instead of tons of unpaid overtime trying to put out fires at that old sh*tshow."
Many other Reddit users weighed in as well with their own experiences. Another person claiming to work for the same company chimed in. "I can confirm the CEO said something really similar to this in an all-hands a few months ago. I remember it enraged me. I will also be leaving when they do it, just wanna grab my bonus first. They want to force everyone back to the office 3 days a week minimum ASAP. No good reason for it other than that they for some reason spent money on more offices during the pandemic. There was so much resentment and kickback from the staff they ended up taking it down," they wrote. Another person claiming to work for the same company backed the boss, writing, "Some people will do literally nothing unless you directly ask them when working remotely. I too would like remote work, because I can handle it. But when a job (our team) requires initiative, it is really hard for some people to find that," they wrote. The original poster concurred as well. "Those are fair points and I definitely saw a lot of people who were just phoning it in, especially toward the end. I was one of them on many days. But it should be the worker's choice unless there is a damn good reason, not just because the boss wants to see butts in chairs."