Just like making all of your workers remote is often not a great idea for a business, asking every remote employee to come back to the office just because that’s your new policy can also be a bad decision. It is in your best interest as an employer to consider the individual circumstances of every employee and ask yourself certain questions about each one of them: do you really want them to be in the office or is that some type of power move on your part? How well is each specific employee doing performance wise while being remote? Is thgat worker likely to be doing better in the office given their job duties, their own preferences, the length of their commute, and their other personal circumstances? How much harder will you make that employee’s life by having them come to the office, and finally – how much are you willing to risk losing that employee as a result of your new policy? These are important types of  questions to ask and the answers will be different each time.

Speaking of talking to your employees, perhaps the first step toward deciding whether to require any employee to return to the office should be testing the waters with them and asking them a hypothetical question  – “hey, what do you think about returning to work in the office # days a week?”  You can then factor their response into your overall decision making.Some of the most unfortunate stories are where workers, in reliance on their company’s remote work policy, move away to another city with their family, buy a house, put their kids in new schools, do very well at their job, but then their employer all of a sudden announces that they have to come back to the office for no other reason than “it’s our new policy”. In these types of situations, most workers don’t move back because they already have a new life set up, and they just decide to quit and look for a new job at their new location instead. In many of these cases, the employer loses a good worker for no good reason.
If you run a private business, you have all the authority and all the reasons to be flexible and make individual decisions about each employee’s returning or not returning to the office that would work best for you and for them. You can make your own rules as a private business, so why not take advantage of it? And, as long as there is no evidence that you make these decisions on a discriminatory basis, i.e. due to age, race, disability, sexual orientation, etc… you shouldn’t be facing any legal issue assessing each employee’s returning or not returning to the office individually.

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