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To work from home or work from the office? Employers faced with dilemma

Economic reasons creating back to office hesitancy 01:35

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A transition period is underway to get employees back to their offices and it's creating dilemmas for employees and their bosses.

Some people might be hesitant to return, strictly for economic reasons.

Besides the clothing needed, there are other costs associated with going back to work.

"There's parking, gas prices have obviously gone up, things like that, but yeah, there's definitely a cost," one local worker said.

"A couple hundred a month, so it's not cheap," another local worker said.

KDKA's John Shumway: "Do employers need to make some compensation for them?"

"Well, there's no legal requirement that they make compensation for that, I mean, remember, we did live in a world before COVID," Zachary Bombatch, of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Resources Organization, said.

Bombatch said employers do have to be aware of the ongoing talent war.

"Maybe that's something they talked about as we will increase compensation to entice you back to the office," he said.

It's not just money post-pandemic that employees are after, they want the flexibility and they're getting it.

"We can work from home whenever we want, basically," a local worker said.

"I come in two days a week and then work from home three," a worker in Pittsburgh said.

"I think that the employers that are facing the biggest challenge and the biggest turnovers, the ones taking the hardest lines of grabbing a full stop to remote work on a certain date," Bombatch said. "After that date, you have to be in the office five days a week for the full workday and are not offering any flexibility."

However, offering that flexibility comes with some issues.

Two years of working at home is taking its toll.

"The burnout is real and burnout is only increasing," Bombatch said.

Bombatch added that we've all learned the downsides of working at home.

"It's a lot harder to turn off work and to turn off your obligations when you're only commuting maybe from your kitchen to a home office," he said.

So while you're saving on gas, parking, and commuting time, Bombatch said there's been a number of statistics saying that the workday is definitely longer at home.

"I don't mind the trip, I miss being downtown," a local worker said.

Even those who want to return to the office still do want the option to work remotely.

"I think that lack of flexibility is what is pushing a lot of people away from those more rigid employers," Bombatch said.

He said that flexibility is tricky for some employers.

"If you're making some individuals come back to the office and allowing others to work from home," he said. "You better have a good rationale for that and have that rationale documented and have a basis for why you're making some stay and allowing some to remain at home."

It seems like the solution is offering incentives, pay or otherwise, to come back into the office but once those are in place, are they a one-time thing?

The other side of the coin, do you pay those working at home less?

There are no easy answers as employers try to hang onto their workforce.

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