Productivity went up in 2020

By Craig Harris USA TODAY

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Many company executives, in a shift from early this spring, say they want their employees — largely sent home to work during the pandemic — to return to their offices by Labor Day or sooner.

Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., says company executives are also itching to get staff back into offices to protect the bottom line.

“In the short run companies didn’t see productivity fall. But over the long run, companies think those interactions and sharing ideas (in the office) creates a better product, ” says Challenger, whose company specializes in job placements, ”

But Challenger notes a “disconnect” with employees.

“I talk to job seekers and employees,” he says. “There’s a feeling that they were pretty productive when they worked from home, and they enjoyed it.”

Challenger says typically it’s younger employees who may not have the “nostalgia” of working in an office environment who want to keep working from home. Yet, he says the isolation in a home office keeps employees from creatively collaborating and bouncing ideas off one another.

Challenger says said it’s way too easy for a job recruiter to contact a candidate at home and lure that employee away.

“Being in the office makes the jobs stickier,” Challenger says.