The great office stand-off

Written by CMI Insights Tuesday 26 March 2024
As some organisations try to force employees back into the office five days a week, managers are caught in the crossfire. Time for thoughtful leadership
Two sides of the chessboard facing each other

The get-back-to-the-office debate is getting stormy. A large national construction firm recently told all its people that they had to be on the premises five days a week. Speaking to one of the managers responsible for handling the process, he's been bombarded with complaints and tearful remonstrations. 

The thing is, like huge swathes of the UK’s working population, the employees there really respond to the hybrid arrangement. They tell the manager that they have complicated childcare, elderly care, even pet care responsibilities, that it would now be impossible to unwind. They argue that they’ve been working on the basis that, given how long flexible working arrangements have now been in place, they were implied as a right within their employment contract. 

Critically, that manager is now getting the talent backlash. Several top performers have said simply that they won’t accept the arrangements. Back me or sack me, they’re saying. Already he’s having to make quiet side-arrangements. On the flip side, his lower performers are adhering to the new edict. The worst of all outcomes.

Are you a manager caught in the crossfire? Understand your options


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