The simmering tension between remote and in-office workers

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In February, Mark’s employer, an energy firm based in Ohio, US, told him he had to return to the office. The software engineer’s bosses had praised his output while working from home, and he never missed a deadline. Yet, in a company with more than 1,000 employees, it was only Mark’s department that initially received instructions to go back three days a week.

“Our team is small and all of us are on the same page: we don’t need to be there,” explains Mark, whose surname is being held for job-security concerns. “For my day-to-day responsibilities, there are no benefits gained by being in the office – I can accomplish all my tasks from home.”

For Mark, the on-the-ground reality is that only his five-person team, and a smattering of others, are actually back in the workplace. “I can count on both hands the number of employees present most days. We’re at the bottom of the pyramid, and have been told flat out we need to be in the office.”


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!