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Employees throughout the US have been elated to hear that General Motors (GM) will be relaxing its return to office policy. Just last week, the automotive giant declared it would be strengthened its organizational practices, giving employees more control over when and how they return to the office. This policy revision is indicative of a larger trend: employees are gaining greater power over employers.
Employees are gradually earning more power in the workplace due to a number of external factors. First, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the balance of power when it comes to who works remotely and who comes into the office. GM is just the latest of many major companies to realize that their employees’ needs must be taken into consideration when determining a return to office policy. Furthermore, the rise of telecommuting has enabled employees to work from virtually anywhere, on their own terms and timelines. As more companies embrace flexible work arrangements, employees continue to build their bargaining power.
Moreover, employees have gained greater power over employers because of the changing job landscape. Job-hopping, in which employees move to different companies every few years, has become more commonplace. This tendency for employees to switch jobs increases their chances to find a better workplace, one which better meets their needs. As employers vie for top talent, they are increasingly forced to provide competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain employees — further shifting the balance of power.
Ultimately, GM’s latest return to office policy illustrates a greater reality — that employees continue to have more power over employers. The rise of teleworking, combined with a shifting job market, are just a few of the factors which are contributing to this phenomenon. This bodes well for the average worker as it appears that they will not only be able to shape their work environments, but also their careers as a whole.