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Will we see a backlash?


As companies continue to implement mobility programs will we begin to see a backlash?

“Bank of America is cutting back on at-home workers” was the recent headline of article from McClatchy-Tribune.

  1. Bank of America introduced “My Work” as their work-from-home program in 2005. It was introduced as a cost saving measure for the company, as well as to promote employee satisfaction.
  2. Changes to the program will vary depending on the line of business. Department managers have been asked to determine which job categories would better serve the bank by having workers come into the office.
  3. As you read through the article it comes down to a larger part of the program, Project New BAC, for cutting costs and improving efficiency. They are also looking to lay off about 30,000 employees, as well as shutting down child care centers.

It is important for companies to make sure they are implementing mobility options for the right reasons.
Multiple reasons to implement a mobility program are:

  1. Employee Satisfaction
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Cost savings in commuting
  2. Environmental Benefits
  3. Recruitment/Retention
  4. Real Estate Cost Savings
  5. Lesser chance of loss of work during power outages / emergencies

However, mobility options cannot be rolled out as a blanket strategy. Important consideration needs to be taken when deciding who participates, company protocol, management support, and mentoring strategies. This statement has been a common topic in the Workplace Salons we have been holding in New York with local industry professionals.

When mobility strategies are implemented for the wrong reasons, with the wrong culture, it will not work.

  1. As much as mobility solutions are gaining in popularity, we mustn’t forget the central, driving concept of the office.
    • An office brings a sense of community and belonging to an organization that is difficult to obtain while staff are working from home.
    • The office provides opportunity for face to face collaboration, the opportunity for chance encounters where new ideas and innovation can be fostered.
  2. Mentoring is critical as new generations enter the workforce and others near retirement. Working within the office brings the generations together in ways that are difficult to achieve remotely. This allows generations to learn from each other and share information.

The key to success is for companies to provide the right balance, not just one way or another.

  1. Employees are happier when they have choice, thus they are more engaged and therefore more productive.
  2. Mobility has its right place in organizations, but there needs to be careful planning and implementation in making sure it’s successful.
  3. Work and place do not have to be connected. Work doesn’t have to happen at the office. Work can happen at the airport, from home, from a local coffee shop. However, the office creates a centralized place for mentoring, collaboration and community.
| By Michael Fazio

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“A mega-trend is sharing instead of ownership of workspaces. We can either all ride in coach or we can share a private jet.”

Chris Blackadder
Principal, Woods Bagot