Lessons From the Great Resignation: Why We Shouldn’t Strive to Return to the Pre-Pandemic World

Mar 21, 2023 | Article


Yekaterina Weaklim, HR Director – North America for Envision Digital Corporation, writes about her experience with the conflicting directions that the workforce environment is facing post-pandemic


The Covid-19 pandemic has flipped our world upside down for the last three years. As we are finally accepting this new illness as part of our daily lives and moving on, a new trend has been emerging. Companies have been forcing employees to return to the office either on hybrid or full-time basis. It seems that the culling, as I like to call it, has become ruthless and quite a few people lost their jobs because they didn’t want to go back to the office. This trend started to emerge toward the end of 2021 and during the Great Resignation, however at that time employees had an upper hand in the negotiating process and companies had to remain very flexible to attract and retain their top talent. Now the tables have turned. 

“I believe that companies/employers must and should remain flexible with their remote/hybrid/etc policies.”

Companies should be allowing employees to choose how they would like to continue performing their work. Be it 100% remote, hybrid with some in-office time or mostly in-office. I’ve seen countless comments on LinkedIn of people saying that they are forced to be at the office and have to sit on zoom calls with colleagues in different parts of the country. Why force people to waste time commuting when they have to sit on a zoom call with ‘remote’ colleagues in a cubicle in a half empty office? 

There were countless studies done in the last few years about productivity of remote/hybrid workers. Stanford surveyed 16,000 workers over a nine-month span and found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. Another survey done by Connectsolutions showed that 77% of those who work remotely, at least a few times per month, showed increased productivity with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same amount of time. Prodoscope, a leader in employee visibility software, conducted a massive study on employee productivity and it showed a 47% productivity increase in 2020 despite the lockdowns. 

I have someone close to me who was part of the Great Resignation. They quit their job in early 2022 for many reasons but the main one is their employer wanted to bring all employees back to the office full-time. Funnily enough, the day after their last day their old employer announced five days a week in the office, with no transition time between fully remote to fully in-office. They used to have one day a week remote prior to the pandemic. Also, this individual works in the industry where they don’t need to be in the office at all and now, they are in a fully remote job. 

“I personally quit a job after six months, this was before the pandemic, due to an awful commute. I had to drive almost three hours per day, because I live in a decently sized metropolitan area.”

It wasn’t the distance; it was the amount of people on the road. I was wasting a large amount of time each day where I could have been working, running errands, volunteering, or spending time on my hobbies.

On the flip side of the coin there are people that actually enjoy the in-office environment. It could be due to their situation at home or a personality type that needs to be around others. Many companies/employers invested a lot of money into nice buildings in great locations with amazing amenities. There were studies that showed productivity in some sectors have gone down due to employees being remote. I personally know someone who works for a company where employees were abusing the remote policies and the company had to end the option altogether. 

Many companies/employers typically want to operate a productive and fruitful business. The bottom line really is what drives many decisions employers make. Since there has been tangible proof of increase in productivity and employee happiness employers should be embracing the new norm. Afterall, everyone wants productive employees. Yes, not all jobs can be performed remotely, this applies to the jobs that were, before the pandemic, typically done in the office and now can be performed remotely and or on a hybrid schedule. 

Another added benefit of allowing remote and hybrid work is cost savings for the employers. During the height of the pandemic many people moved out of big cities and large population centers to either nearby suburban areas or to different states with smaller population density. Many did it to be closer to their families and many did it for other personal reasons. The areas chosen were typically lower cost and in turn the higher earners from big cities ended up boosting the local economies with their spending.

“In general, if companies are open to recruit talent across the US instead of one specific area, like San Francisco or New York, they can offer an overall lower salary for employees to stay remote in locations with cheaper cost of living.”

Many would also rather take a pay cut than go back to the office. In 2021 a survey performed by Goodhire suggested that three out of five or 61% of adult Americans said that they would take a pay cut to maintain their remote status. 

In conclusion, humans are social creatures, and we need social interactions, connections and friendships. However, we have become too reliant on those social interactions and connections coming from a place of work. Yes, we spend a large portion of our day working, and we may meet some amazing people at work, however we need to refocus on making connections within our local communities and groups and not at work.


Opinion piece by Yekaterina Weaklim HR Director – North America, Envision Digital Corporation.



Yekaterina, or Katya, is a success-driven leader with more than 13 years in industry and six years of experience in HR management. Her key areas of focus are team leadership, talent acquisition, and operational excellence. When she is not working on bringing new perspectives into the future of work, she enjoys her spare time with her husband and cat. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and an Executive MBA from the University of Wyoming.


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