Complete Story


Returning to the Workplace

Navigating a return to the workplace has proved to be a tricky topic

With the Omicron surge in the rearview mirror, more companies, including several major scholarly publishers, are working to bring employees back to the office. Navigating a return to the workplace, or avoiding doing so, has proven to be a tricky topic for companies large and small alike. And if you think your organization is facing complexity, well, pity your friends at Facebook, many of whom are returning to the workplace later this month, but shorn of some of their famous perks like on-site laundry and unlimited take-home steak dinners

Academic libraries, especially at residential institutions, are threading a particularly delicate needle. If students are clamoring for the in-person college experience, institutions are apt to try to provide it and yet so much information work has seemed feasible to complete virtually. Some institutions are taking a flexible approach to the workplace, hiring employees from outside the region successfully, but many others have adopted a remarkably rigid approach to the return to the workplace. For the latter group, this is at least in part a reflection that colleges and universities typically own their physical plant and so the cost savings they can realize from workplace flexibility are limited and almost zero in the near term. 

Other types of employers in our sector are far more likely to lease office space. For them, workplace flexibility has, at least in some cases, more immediate potential for cost-savings. In addition, workplace flexibility has shown benefits of being able to hire from a national employment pool, albeit with commensurate questions about compensation equity in light of cost of living differences. The societal costs, in terms of the likely hollowing out of the commercial centers of many cities, are externalities that employers do not bear directly. 

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Scholarly Kitchen.

Printer-Friendly Version