Principal Financial Group calls workers back to the office
Principal Financial Group employees who live within 30 miles of the company's downtown world headquarters must return to the office at least three days a week, CEO Dan Houston announced yesterday in an email to employees obtained by Axios.
Why it matters: More employers are trying to get workers back in the office following the pandemic, but they're getting pushback.
- For example, hundreds of Amazon employees in May walked out on the job over return-to-office mandates.
What's happening: Principal's goal is to build a more vibrant and collaborative in-office environment, Houston wrote in the email.
- Company spokesperson Sara Bonney tells Axios she's unable to summarize employees' reactions to the announcement.
Details: The in-office requirement begins Nov. 6 and also applies to employees who work from its location at Proximity Park in Charlotte, N.C.
- There's no change for current full-time employees who already work remotely from outside the radius.
Catch up fast: In the early days of the pandemic, the company required most employees to work remotely.
- Workers returned on a voluntary basis in June 2020. Many local Principal employees have been required to return to the office at least one day a week in recent months.
Between the lines: Principal invested hundreds of millions of dollars in campus renovations prior to the pandemic.
- The company owns more than $300 million of real estate in Polk County, assessor records show.
- That includes downtown's 801 Grand Building, the state's tallest.
State of play: Downtown is wrestling with multiple office losses since the pandemic.
- Metro office vacancies decreased slightly in recent months — but there are still more than three million square feet of unoccupied space, the Business Record reports.
Meanwhile, DSM's government is buying Nationwide's now-vacant building after the company embraced a work-from-home transition.
- And Iowa government officials this week approved plans to relocate hundreds of state employees from the capitol complex to a site near WDM.
What they're saying: It's likely that more metro companies will follow Principal's protocol, Greg Edwards, CEO of Catch DSM, tells Axios.
- Productivity is often harder to track and personal interactions aren't as strong in remote settings, he said.
What's next: Principal's hybrid employees will soon have "badge-in data" to help track their days in the office.
- Managers will have access to those reports and will be responsible for oversight of the in-person policy.
- Exceptions will not be common but the company remains committed to flexibility and supporting a variety of work arrangements, according to Houston's memo.
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