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UPS employees return to office five days a week

Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Business News

White collar workers at UPS streamed back into the office on Monday, the first day a new policy requiring them to come in person five days a week took effect.

The new policy, announced in January, makes UPS one of the most high-profile Georgia companies to mandate white collar workers report in person since the pandemic.

“Today we welcomed non-operations UPS employees back into the office five days a week, globally,” UPS said in a statement Monday. “One of the hallmarks of our culture has been our in-person connections with our customers and the partnership forged from personal relationships cultivated day in and day out at work.”

Like millions of people classified as “essential” workers across sectors, package handlers and other UPS workers directly involved in getting goods from Point A to Point B worked in-person throughout the pandemic.

The move mandating the return of corporate and other office employees has drawn opinions from working people well beyond UPS — whether criticized as a requirement that hurts morale, welcomed as a policy that makes sense, or somewhere in between.

The new in-person attendance policy applies to those who work at UPS’ headquarters in metro Atlanta and other UPS sites around the world.

 

Many businesses have grappled with whether to institute return-to-office mandates as many workers continue to prefer the flexibility of remote or hybrid work setup that gained widespread popularity among desk jockeys during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many employers say team cohesion, networking and mentoring, which can help productivity, have suffered amid the pandemic. In response, many employers have boosted in-office amenities and perks to woo workers back.

UPS said it has distributed guidance to employees on its return to office policy, “as well as reminders on everything from food to wellness options while at work.”

In its January memo to employees announcing the policy, UPS said: “We acknowledge this news comes with excitement for some and mixed emotions for others.”

The move was followed a few weeks later by an announcement that UPS was cutting 12,000 jobs — amounting to about 14% of its managers — after rough economic conditions and lost business from labor negotiations last year led to a sharp decline in its 2023 revenue and profit.

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