1. Bullshit. Show us the data to substantiate your claim.
2. Even if we assume that Rutledge is correct: Is the delta in observable effectiveness worth the cost to employees' lives and their families?
I'm on the side of the engineer who resigned. The CEO's policy is stupid, irresponsible, and/or callous.
I don't think this is relevant or even something which an outsider can easily make claims about.
This isn't a normal situation though and employers who force employees who have the option to work from home to come into the office are just flat wrong here. Or as you said "The CEO's policy is stupid, irresponsible, and/or callous."
I'd go further and say not only should employers support anyone who can working from home do so, they should also support the right of workers who can't work from home to take the time off even if the business isn't closed.
But 2 absolutely outweighs the productivity loss.
1. A lot of folks are being forced into it, rather than it being an option chosen voluntarily.
2. School is cancelled, so kids are home, which can be very distracting for parents (which, for some industries, is a significant portion of employees).
At the intersection of the two observations, I'd caution against extrapolating too much from the recent pain points.
In my experience (I've worked remote for the past 6 years), I'm far more productive working from home than I am in an office.
It's not fair to compare a hasty transition to remote work, and during a period of time with so much uncertainty that surely has a negative impact on concentration and productivity, with a properly rolled-out remote work policy.
It would be like starting a remote work policy right before Christmas and declaring it doesn't work because things slowed down; things are going to slow down whether or not you're working from an office.
I am working from home at the moment and I am less productive than other times I have worked from home. Part of it is that my partner is also working from home, which means I currently can't have dual monitors like I usually would when working at home or in the office. I think another part of it is that I find myself checking the news far more often than I would normally (though this was also happening over the past few days I worked in the office rather than from home).
Partly it is because some high level members of our team already worked from home, so we already have processes and habits adjusted to that. We already have the habit to just call about every small thing that you would normally say in the office.
Partly because work from home is more intensive, as in, I feel more bad when I am wasting time.
“A bunch of us amateurs tried something so I’m now comfortable making absolute assertions about broad generalizations.”
When our contract began, we (the consultants) all did our work remotely, we were highly productive, and making real changes in their organization.
Then we were required to come in once a week... fine. The commute is brutal but we're getting paid. The thing was though... we didn't typically interact with anyone there. We had a few consultants that did, but they were in that office anyway. Then they wanted us there every day. No empty seats, WFH discouraged. I quit. They wanted engineers literally to fill extra seats they had to make the office "look busy" for when execs came to town. Productivity dropped, turnover increased (it was already bad), and now this happens.
I hope the companies that enforce these rules face hard challenges ahead with acquiring a solid workforce. Employees are not the enemy, they are the company, let them work as they work best.
'people are more effective from the office'
and then later morphed this claim into something with a bit more of a solidarity feel:
'we believe our approach to supporting front-line employees is the right way ...'
Still a crazy position to adopt - unless you think 80,000 of your employees will be sufficiently pissed off that 15,000 of your employees are reducing the spread of COVID-19 to impact your revenue stream.
Companies that don't act swiftly to protect their employees health are going to have a rude awakening.
It is not easy to change jobs, and with COVID now it seems likely that engineer is out-of-work for a significant amount of time. I guess he made the right decision for himself (and getting press for it might actually make a difference), but really it's not about him individually, it's about all of society at this point. He personally could have taken the chance and "probably" been okay, but as he points out, it is completely irresponsible and pathological for Charter to behave as they are.
Honestly at this point I'm wondering if we shouldn't have roving bands of coughers going anywhere they see people and making a big scene of coughing into their hands and touching everything. Until people realize that you can't arrest or shoot a virus, and instead need to change the behavior of its potential hosts.
Coronavirus is really going to define what employers think about there people, especially major corporations telling people to take unpaid leave for extended periods of time.
One of the basic rules of leadership they don't teach you in normal schools is: "Never give an order that won't be obeyed." There's a few things that will erode your authority faster, but it's a short list. Charter leadership is putting themselves in an entirely forseeably dangerous position, legally, morally, and with their authority.
Basically like ComCast.
Also getting fired would not give you the same reference.
Makes you wonder how reliable the CEO thinks the service is if he doesn't trust it enough to allow his employees to work remotely.
(This is no indictment of the engineers, who I'm sure are doing the best job they can/are allowed to).