Mask mandates are over, social distancing seems, well, distant, and while COVID isn’t gone, we seem well past the crisis of the pandemic. 

But COVID did plant the seed of permanent remote work, and it’s one that’s not going away so quickly. Employees like it, they know they can get their work done without being in the office. Meanwhile, employers want folks back in the office collaborating, building teams and advancing corporate objectives. 

“It has all the hallmarks of a great spaghetti western. A Mexican standoff with a distinctly Aussie flavour. Picture a tumbleweed spinning down a (downtown) street, employers standing at one end, hybrid workers at the other – waiting to see who flinches first,” writes Kevin George in the Australian Financial Review.

He predicts that employers are going to win out:

“Certainly, the highly skilled and more experienced workers who are sought after will continue to run the race that suits them best, knowing that an attractive, high-paid alternative role with an employer who will support their preferred work mode in a tight labour market is only a LinkedIn post away. But as the economy is slowing, and job layoffs take hold, we’re going to see the pendulum swing back towards employers. And with that shift in the power dynamic, it’s my confident prediction that any remaining empty chairs in CBD offices will start to be filled again. Smart employees will see that change coming and dust off their bus pass to get ahead of the curve. Never mind the Great Resignation, get ready for the Great Return.”