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Nike Increases In-Office Work Days To 4, Projects Returning To Office Full Time

Nike has increased the number of days its hybrid workers work at a physical location or office, increasing it from three to four days starting in January 2024. According to Fortune, the move signals that hybrid remote work could have been a false compromise created by corporations.

According to a statement provided by the company spokesperson to Footwear News, Nike is spinning the move as one that will increase worker camaraderie, “We’ve seen the power and energy that comes from working together in person, and we aim to create more of that.” 

In 2021, Nike announced a policy requiring at least three days spent in an office but delayed that rollout for a year due to the spread of COVID-19. However, Nike is far from the only company attempting to get its workers to return to a traditional office setting. According to an October 2023 survey from Resume Builder, 90% of companies want a return to office by 2024.

Lazlo Bock, CEO of Humu, told Fortune that companies are willing to use an incremental method of increasing in-office requirements until companies have what they want, “The purpose of the ‘boil the frog method’ [is] to do it subtly and thereby avoid difficult questions and conflict,” Bock told Fortune. “But that’s not only bad for trust and morale, it’s also not the best thing for employees or for the company.”

However, Bock notes that employees consider flexible work options an important factor when choosing where to work. An August 2023 survey conducted by BCG establishes that 90% of responders wanted flexible work conditions, and workers are twice as likely to stay at a company if they liked the company’s work structure.

Companies like Amazon, however, are attempting to wrest control back from workers more swiftly than companies like Nike. Business Insider reported that in an update to its ‘Return To Office’ guidelines, the e-commerce behemoth allowed company managers to fire workers who do not comply with their hybrid work mandate of three days in office instituted in April. Thirty-thousand of its workers signed an anti-RTO petition before the company began its mandate.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy took a hard line with workers ahead of the mandate, telling them in a company fireside chat obtained by Insider, “It’s past the time to disagree and commit,” Jassy said. “And if you can’t disagree and commit, I also understand that, but it’s probably not going to work out for you at Amazon because we are going back to the office at least three days a week, and it’s not right for all of our teammates to be in three days a week and for people to refuse to do so.”

According to Axios, strict policies like Amazon’s could have an adverse effect on the workplace, leading to less diversity and a loss of talented workers. Elon Musk signaled in a tweet from May 2022 that he doesn’t believe employees work as hard from home as they do in an office setting, which is likely something that is driving the push for a return to the office from companies.

Prithwiraj Choudhury from the Harvard Business School told the outlet that he sees a better way to accommodate workers, “What I hope we see is companies thinking it through and saying we need to meet for a certain fraction of days and then let each team decide the frequency and location.”