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Work From Home On The Outer As CE Industry Bosses Call For Return To Office

Working from home or hybrid working is now being exposed using technology with several Companies now ordering staff back to work in offices with one executive telling ChannelNews “We have suspected staff were bludging on Company time” now they are being exposed.

Among the tools being used are keystroke software that are being downloaded onto Company notebooks, tablets, and mobile phones.

Zoom, the video calling app synonymous with remote working during the pandemic, is ordering staff back to the office.

Employees have been told that those who live near one of its offices must be on site for at least two days a week, with the company claiming that hybrid working “is most effective for Zoom.”

Amazon has tracked the attendance of workers operating from home and targeted those failing to comply with its hybrid work policy.

One observer in the CE Industry claimed that the recent push by Companies to get more people back working from the office, reflects a hardening attitude by businesses who have largely accommodated employees’ desire for flexible working arrangements for three years.

“We are facing tough times and working from home was okay during a pandemic, but it cannot become the norm, because someone wants to look after their children at home, instead of sending them to daycare when they have to actually attend a workplace. This may benefit them but not the employer who pays a salary for people to work not care for children or do other activities such as going to a gym on Company time”.

An Aussie boss who suspected his staff were “taking him for a ride” while working from home took matters into his own hands recently by tracking their call logs.

The director of a distribution Company supplying retailers, has claimed that he knew something was wrong when contribution to work chats dwindled, email responses slowed, and a growing number of calls went unanswered.

An insurance Company executive who was sacked after her boss tracked her computer activity has revealed she has turned to Centrelink and fears “never” getting hired again.
Suzie Cheiko, 38, worked for Insurance Australia Group for 18 years before she was given a formal warning about her performance and output in November 2022.

She was put on a performance improvement plan and her keyboard strokes were monitored on 49 working days between October and December.

Ms Cheiko was fired on February 20 for missing deadlines and meetings.

The Fair Work Commission upheld IAG’s decision to sack her.

This week Amazon singled out several staff members to tell them they were “not currently meeting our expectation of joining your colleagues in the office at least three days a week,” according to a leaked email.

“We expect you to start coming into the office three or more days a week now,” the email said.

The monitoring of attendance in the office and the work done by employees who claim that they are working from home is now being ramped up by Company executives with measurement of work hours and the work actually done being measured Vs people who have actually returned to working from home.

Also cracking down on work from home claims is the Australian Tax Office.

Almost 5 million Australians claimed work from home expenses last financial year, but the ATO has changed the methods you can use to claim tax deductions this tax time.

“We’ve got two methods now in which you can claim your working from home expenses,” says ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said recently.

Video conferencing company Zoom told employees this week that employees living within 70 kilometres of one of its offices had to attend in person.

Meanwhile, Publicis, the advertising agency, has warned its US staff that failure to comply with its three-days-a-week policy could have implications for their pay and chances of promotion.

“Failure to meet the 3 day/week in-office expectations may impact performance outcomes, including salary increases, bonus payouts and/or promotion opportunities,” the agency wrote in an email to workers, which was first reported by Adweek.

Citigroup has warned it will “hold colleagues accountable” if they do not comply with the bank’s policies on office attendance.

Surveys suggested that most employees wanted to work in person two to three days a week but were less keen on mandates.

David Tolley, chief executive of WeWork, said this week that one reason for the office-space company’s weak occupancy figures in the second quarter of this year was that return-to-office trends in the USA, were lagging behind those in other parts of the world.

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