Remember “Work From Home” and hybrid work?
That was so 2020-21.
Gov. Josh Shapiro is ordering over 2,000 state government employees to return to the office beginning on March 6.
The policy will require state workers to report to the office at least three days a week. The policy applies to all senior managers who work under the governor’s jurisdiction, the Governor’s Office staff and Cabinet members. None of the affected workers are union represented.
“We are eager to set the tone at the top in supporting practices that support workers and the communities in which they live and work,” said Secretary of Administration Neil Weaver.
“While the administration acknowledges the potential benefits of remote work, they must be balanced with the many benefits of being in the office, including improved opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, informal learning and overall well-being, as well as the sense of connection and shared mission that comes with being in the workplace. This rebalancing of telework schedules will allow us to enjoy both.”
Approximately 18,000 salaried employees telework either part or full-time while the remaining 54,000 typically report to their location on all work days.
Republican lawmakers have been calling for state employees to return to office for nearly two years. They said having workers work from home has impacted the quality of service Pennsylvanians receive from their state government and they have questioned its impact on worker productivity.
According to a Reuters story, a Microsoft report in September said the number of meetings per week had increased 153 percent globally for the average Teams user since the start of the pandemic – and 42% of workers multi-tasked during those meetings. Still, 85% of the leaders it surveyed felt they did not have confidence employees were being productive in a hybrid workplace.
Office of Administration spokesman Dan Egan commented that it also will increase mentoring and leadership development opportunities and better serve Pennsylvanians while continuing to offer flexibility for employees who have been permitted to telework.
House Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) was succinct in his response to the announcement.
“People need to get back to work. COVID is over.”