Nearly half of Grindr’s employees have quit their jobs after the company ended its remote work policy.
The company behind the LGBT+ dating app has faced a mass exodus in response to its decision to force workers back to the office.
According to the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Grindr announced in August that U.S. employees would have to choose between relocating to one of several major cities where the firm had an office (such as New York, LA, San Francisco and Chicago) and attend the office at least twice a week -or quit.
It seems many Grindr staff weren’t willing to play ball - refusing to accept the company’s demand and simply walked away from their jobs with a severance package.
The CWA estimates that around 80 of Grindr’s 178 workers have left the company since the ultimatum was issued.
The union has filed an unlawful labour practice lawsuit against Grindr on behalf of the now-former staff. The CWA also claims that the firm’s return-to-office mandate, and the resulting exit of many workers, was an attempt to silence employees from raising concerns about working conditions, and rumours that staff were considering unionising.
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Erick Cortez, Knowledge Specialist and member of Grindr United-CWA, said: “It is unimaginably disappointing that dozens of our colleagues have had to leave their jobs because Grindr management did not want to sit down with workers and respect our right to organise."
Grindr has chosen to establish itself as union-busters by "enforcing a retaliatory RTO mandate, and silencing workers through unlawful severance agreements", Cortez said, adding: "These decisions have left Grindr dangerously understaffed and raises questions about the safety, security and stability of the app for users.
"It is clear Grindr wants workers to be silenced and deterred from exercising our right to organise, regardless of the expense. We will persist and continue to organise and establish a stronger company for workers and users.”
In a statement provided to CNN, a spokesperson for Grindr said: “We are looking forward to returning to the office in a hybrid model in October and further improving productivity and collaboration for our entire team.”
What’s fuelling the return-to-office mandate?
The swift transformation of work dynamics in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic left companies navigating uncharted waters, prompting many to embrace remote work as what they perceived to be a temporary solution.
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As vaccination efforts gained momentum and infection rates ebbed, attention naturally turned towards the eventual reintegration of employees into physical office spaces. However, this transition has not unfolded as seamlessly as anticipated.
Many staff found that, in a post-Covid world, remote working was a preferable option, offering greater work-life balance, allowing them to care for their dependants and reducing the dreaded commute time. In short, staff had acclimatised to remote working, and didn’t want to return.
Yet many organisations, buoyed by the anxiety of not being able to monitor staff in a traditional sense, and perhaps also concerned about the long-term effects of physical separation such as learning from others and brain storming, demanded that returns happened anyway.
Do many now regret this decision?
According to a survey by Industry Insider, a significant portion of executives now expresses misgivings regarding their strategies to reintegrate staff into on-site work environments.
These sentiments of remorse are notably pinned on a supposed ‘data deficit,’ suggesting that many decisions were taken without comprehensive insights into the preferences and needs of the workforce.
The study, conducted across diverse industries and involving a wide array of corporate hierarchies, sheds light on the unexpected challenges of recalibrating traditional office norms. From restructuring office layouts to re-establishing commuting routines, such initiatives appear to have faced friction in many organisations.
Among the key findings of the survey, a staggering 73% of the surveyed executives admitted that their approach to implementing the return-to-office policy had been flawed in some manner. Interestingly, the majority of these leaders cited an insufficient depth of data as a key contributing factor to their missteps.
This admission underlines a critical oversight, suggesting that the impulse to revert to pre-pandemic norms may have overshadowed a more nuanced understanding of the evolving needs and preferences of their workforce.
The survey also spotlighted a disconnect between management and their employees. A significant proportion of employees expressed concerns about the potential risks associated with returning to the office, particularly in light of ongoing health uncertainties.
This divide between upper management's decision-making and the employees' apprehensions has created a scenario building to dissatisfaction and disengagement.
What does this mean for the future of in-office working?
It’s unlikely that many bosses will revert on their return-to-office mandates. However, some key lessons are apparent for those considering major changes to working structures.
Organisations are urged to recalibrate their return-to-office strategies, placing a heightened emphasis on transparent communication and inclusive decision-making.
Ensuring that employee voices are heard and valued not only promotes a harmonious reintegration process but also fosters a sense of ownership and commitment to the company's overarching goals.
In short, data-driven decision-making and a willingness to adapt to changing paradigms are essential for ensuring a successful return to the office