Back to blog

Starbucks Forcing back to office work?

Starbucks CEO Harold Schulz announced last week that they are “ordering” employees to return to the office a minimum of three days per week, after his earlier request fell short of 100% compliance. He also states that working from home is a “privilege.” Wow.

Did Mr. Schulz totally miss what has transpired over the last three years? Is he ignoring the fact that WFH has proven to be an effective workplace solution, is good for the planet, and is preferred by many? Is he dismissing the robust management tools that we now have in place to support performance, regardless of where people sit?

Maybe Mr. Schulz is putting his own personal preference for working in a (very full) office ahead of the preferences of his employees. Or maybe he is not trusting that when working remotely people will contribute at the same level. Regardless of his reasons, his actions seem far removed from what people want, and I feel for Starbucks employees.

Progressive, participatory organizations are giving people choices, because people want different things. I’m seeing companies offer a menu of options for work space, including fully remote, fully WFH, hybrid, and fully in office. All of them work, all of them are proven, and all of them are desired.

If you need to tackle unrest and dissatisfaction amongst your employees (and this is bound to happen at some point in the organizational cycle), please get to root cause and ask your employees for their input. I don’t think that’s happening at Starbucks.

Need to understand what others are doing with WFH, Hybrid and in office working? Join us at the 2023 Remote Working Summit March 8-9 in Dallas. 20+ speakers on all things remote and hybrid work.