ABK QA being forced back into the office

Work from home worked during the pandemic. Why can't it work now?

MajorLinux - Editor-in-chief

There are so many things I don’t understand about work culture here in the US. Most of all is its fascination of having to be in an office in order to get work done. With the advent of computers and the internet, we should not be continually bound to a desk outside of our homes. It’s an outdated concept that needs to be done away with. Unfortunately, ABK doesn’t see it that way.

ABK is stopping all hybrid working in January for its QA testers. Employees are now expected to be in the office full time. The decision to do so has moved the ABK Workers Alliance to speak up on the matter. With many QA staff in Austin, El Segundo, and Minneapolis affected by the decision, it feels as if “many employees are being forced out of the company in a soft layoff”.

This is a tactic many companies have tried since before the pandemic was “over”. One “Musky” individual said the quiet part out loud multiple times when forcing his employees to report back in.

ABK Workers Alliance Statement

The job security of many QA employees was already on shaky ground due to the announcement of hybrid work earlier this year.

Since then, hundreds of employees have been in correspondence with the Accommodations team to try to receive a permanent work from home arrangement due to disability, financial issues, or other factors. Many of these requests have been outright denied and many more have been offered in-office accommodations that do not adequately meet the needs of employees.

This has resulted in many employees being forced out of the company in a soft layoff. It is our belief that the removal of hybrid work will result in many, many more employees being forced out of the company and into a desperate situation.”

ABK Workers Alliance statement

As the Alliance points out, this will leave vulnerable employees behind “especially disabled and immunocompromised employees, many who have had their work from home accommodations requests denied with inadequate reasoning”.

It is also important to us that we recognize the financial impact this decision will have on employees. Many employees that were hired during the height of WFH live a significant distance from the offices. The employees affected who remain at the company have been commuting significant distances to the office and have felt the financial impact of doing so in regards to gas prices. But also, these long commutes mean that affected employees have less work-life balance, spending most of their time commuting and working and less time with their families, loved ones, and other aspects of their life.”

ABK Workers Alliance statement

Bringing people back into the office without reasonable accommodations on top of just restricting their movements will add undue stress to a person. Micromanaging will increase workloads because managers need to feel important. With all of these combined factors, the quality of work will suffer.

A one-size-fits-all mandate harms us all. Everyone loses: the company, the products, the players, and, most of all, the employees. We stand firm in our resolve that the decision to WFH or RTO should be made on an individual basis with consideration to the needs of each employee.”

ABK Workers Alliance statement

It is an absolute shame that companies that have the ability to work remotely are forcing people back into office buildings. That’s how diseases spread. Productivity takes a hit with all the distractions. Wasting money on gas or travel to and from the office. Time you’ll never get back.

But I guess the managers need something to do to look busy, right?

Source: Eurogamer

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By MajorLinux Editor-in-chief
Marcus Summers is a Linux system administrator by trade. He has been working with Linux for nearly 15 years and has become a fan of open source ideals. He self identifies as a socialist and believes that the world's information should be free for all.
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