Evan Siddall, the CEO of the Alberta Investment Management Corp., has criticized bosses who are forcing employees to return to the office.
In an interview at the grand opening of AIMCo’s new office in Calgary, Siddall said that forcing employees to return to the office was asking for a fight.
“I’m amazed at, frankly, how many tone-deaf, white male CEOs are saying, ‘you must come back to the office.’ I think they’re asking for fights with their employees,” he said. “I think there’s been a relatively permanent shift.”
“Our philosophy at AIMCo is we’re all adults,” Siddall said. “Where you do this work doesn’t matter. There’s some orthodoxies around culture, where people say, ‘you can only preserve a culture if people are in the office full-time.’ I just don’t agree with that.”
Siddall’s words mirror the opinion of most workers, who have a preference for the flexibility that remote work occurs.
In a new study by economists Cevat Giray Aksoy, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Mathias Dolls, and Pablo Zarate surveyed tens of thousands of workers across 27 countries.
They found that more than a quarter of all workers who currently work from home at least one day per week say they will quit or seek a new remote-friendly job if their employers mandate a full-time return to the office.
Siddall added that forcing in-office work was particularly foolhardy amid the current labor shortages.
“Incidentally, our turnover – it’s higher than it’s been because of COVID — but we’re outperforming our peers because we’ve got a different offering for employees. And so they’re staying,” he said.
“We think it’s made us an employer of choice actually, and it’s enabled us to recruit some terrific people that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to recruit.”