One reader writes:
I lead a team of nine and we gave people a choice of whether or not to return to the office. My team has split up pretty evenly, around half choosing to return and the other half staying at home. That is OK for me!
The problem is that those employees who chose to stay at home are angry about what we’re doing to make it easier for others to get back to the office. For example, the first day people were back we did a catered lunch to welcome everyone and later that week we rented an ice cream truck to distribute free ice cream. When my remote co-workers heard about this, they asked if we could do lunch and treats for them as well (two of them suggested sending them gift cards to a restaurant delivery service). We don’t because the whole point of these perks is to help people transition back to the office and let them know that we will appreciate them when they come back.
Our CEO has also talked about giving a small scholarship to anyone who comes back to buy new business clothes because we know nobody has worn them in the past year and when my remote workers heard about it, one of them was angry at how “unfair” it was.
I can’t see anything unfair in incentivizing people to return to the office and not offering those incentives to people who don’t come back. But am I being unreasonable?
You can read my response to that letter in New York Magazine today, along with questions about representing colleagues who have stayed away, have not assigned desks, find jobs that are not removed, and more. Go there to read it.