Employees are finding it takes extra work to hold on to the flexible habits companies allowed in the thick of the pandemic. More companies are stepping up in-office work requirements or backtracking on earlier pledges to soften the rigid 9-to-5 schedule. General Motors Co. is requiring salaried employees to be in the office three days a week starting at the end of January, after holding off on a similar plan this fall.
In a new survey of more than 500 managers at companies with at least some in-office requirement, more than two-thirds said they were getting stricter on enforcing attendance. Nearly 75% said they planned to factor office attendance into employee performance reviews. One reason is that business leaders are worried about productivity. In a Microsoft Corp. survey of 20,000 people at companies around the world this summer, just 12% of managers said they were fully confident hybrid employees were productive.
The growing vigilance is putting fresh pressure on many employees who had hoped the return to offices would come with more flexibility on commuting times and regular remote days. Some workers say they have honed tactics for maintaining some work flexibility while making higher-ups feel they are omnipresent—but they take finesse and organization.
Managers are under pressure, too: Many say they feel the need to show up full-time—even if it isn’t explicit policy—in part to set an example for their teams. That, in turn, fuels the expectations that their reports do the same.
Another way to keep your manager posted: create a shared document or spreadsheet where you note your progress on tasks. Mark it down when a goal is completed. It’s a way to remind your manager how much you are working on and getting done.