The employee had taken up the job because it promised work-from-home that they needed to maintain a work-life balance.
The pandemic's onset brought many individuals a new lifestyle as companies allowed them to work from home. It benefitted both parties as offices could cut down on running costs and employees could avoid spending on transportation every day. Even after the pandemic subsided, many organizations continued to allow employees to work from home. But some also started calling them back, owing to the downsides of a remote position. u/Sir_apoc shared an incident of their company calling them back in what was initially offered as a fully remote position. The author began by stating, "I work for a large tech company. Like many of the others, they've started the 'return to office' drums some months back." Their position was strictly a "virtual" position, according to the company and they were part of a team that would continue to be remote even after the pandemic ended.
Most of the employees thought these "virtual" employees would be allowed to work remotely. However, they suspected they would be asked to join at the location soon. Their suspicions were confirmed when the company began talking to employees designated as "virtual" about eventually working at the office. Coming to the office is not a viable option for the author because they live pretty far away, resulting in a commute that lasts more than an hour at the very least. They state that they took up the job to move out to the country and discover a more "relaxing balance in life." Working from home also allows them to take their dogs out at various times throughout the day, eat lunch outside and, most importantly, avoid the traffic that one encounters while commuting.
The company gives the author a notice period of 90 days to return back to the office, or they would consider it a "voluntary resignation." The employee makes a strong stand and says they have no plans to resign but would consider it "constructive dismissal" or keep working until the company fired them. If the company were willing to offer something for quitting, they would consider it, such as unemployment insurance. They took the job with a lower salary because of the convenience it offered and because of some stock options that were yet to yield money, so they could not afford to go unemployed just like that. The post ends with a realistic reminder by the author that most employees are nothing but replaceable assets for companies. So, it's essential to keep this in mind when you spend too much of your energy on the job and don't find a work-life balance.
The author makes a few clarifications after the initial post with an edit. Their position at the company was always remote, even before the pandemic. In addition to that, joining the office would not really affect their work as the job's nature was such that everyone could stay home and get work done without meeting each other. Lastly, they wanted to clarify that working from home does not always mean that the quality of work is poor. Individuals on the platform provided suggestions for a course of action in the comments section. u/alroprezzy said, "Hold your ground. They will have to fire you." u/LeviathanGank said, "Check the company performance; this is always a prelude to lay-offs. Trying to get rid of people cheaply. Start looking for another job."