Challenging the Status Quo of Teleworking

Challenging the Status Quo of Teleworking

Agora #90

Discover here the analysis and examination of middle managers' and real estate companies resistance to continued teleworking

Examining Middle Managers’ and Real Estate Companies Resistance to Continued Teleworking



As the landscape of work undergoes rapid transformation, the collision of viewpoints becomes evident in the dichotomy between middle managers’ desire for traditional office settings, real estate companies’ concerns over teleworking, and the trade union’s role in safeguarding worker rights. This dynamic interplay underscores the complexity of shaping the future of work, calling for a delicate balance that addresses the interests and challenges of all stakeholders involved.

Resistance to Change and Comfort Zone vs. Innovation

Middle managers’ stance in favour of returning to the office can be seen as rooted in resistance to change. Familiarity with traditional working norms and the perceived control that an office environment provides might be driving their resistance to adapting to new modes of work. Familiarity with office-based management and oversight can create a sense of control that some managers find reassuring. However, this preference could inadvertently stifle innovation. For instance, remote work can foster innovative thinking by exposing employees to diverse environments and perspectives. The virtual realm enables cross-cultural collaborations that might not have been feasible in a purely office-centric environment.

Assumption of Productivity

A common argument raised by middle managers is that the office environment ensures higher productivity due to increased oversight. This perspective raises questions about whether productivity is truly maximized under constant supervision. The assumption that physical presence equals higher productivity is being challenged by the realities of remote work. Middle managers who emphasize the need for employees to be visibly working might not be fully embracing the potential of telecommuting. For example, companies like GitLab have successfully managed fully remote teams, showcasing that output and impact can be achieved without constant in-person supervision.

Cultural Misalignment

Middle managers often emphasize the importance of maintaining organizational culture through in-person interactions. However, this view fails to acknowledge that organisational culture is a dynamic and adaptable aspect of an organization. Relying solely on office interactions for cultural continuity overlooks the potential for fostering a virtual culture that transcends physical boundaries and can be more inclusive of remote employees. For instance, companies like Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, have fostered a strong virtual culture that thrives on remote interactions. By leveraging digital tools, virtual team-building activities, and regular video conferencing, they have cultivated a cohesive culture among employees spread across the globe.

Lack of Trust

The assertion that teleworking diminishes collaboration and teamwork raises concerns about the underlying trust within organizations. If middle managers believe that employees will only work diligently under direct supervision, it suggests a lack of trust in their teams’ abilities to self-manage. This distrust can be detrimental to morale, engagement, and the potential for autonomous, high-performance work.

Sustainability and Inclusion

A renewed focus on inclusivity and sustainability underscores the value of remote work. Middle managers who prioritise the office environment might not consider the implications for employees with disabilities or those facing geographical constraints. For instance, remote work can level the playing field for individuals with disabilities who may find it challenging to commute. Additionally, remote work contributes to reduced carbon emissions and aligns with sustainability goals.

Real Estate Companies: Financial Realities and Strategic Adaptation

For real estate companies, the impact of teleworking on their bottom line is a paramount concern. The decrease in demand for office spaces poses a threat to their traditional business model, affecting revenue streams. This financial apprehension necessitates innovative approaches to diversify offerings and reimagine office spaces. The operational landscape of real estate companies is intricately linked to physical office spaces. The advent of teleworking prompts these entities to overhaul operations and transform their properties into tech-enabled, flexible environments that align with hybrid work models. However, this transformation often requires substantial investments in infrastructure and technology. Cultural and social implications are also crucial, as office spaces symbolise corporate identity and collaboration. A delicate balance is needed to integrate modern work trends while preserving the cultural elements that define an organisation.

Trade Union Perspective: Equity and Well-being

Trade unions prioritise employee welfare, viewing teleworking as an avenue for inclusivity. The rise of remote work offers opportunities for individuals with disabilities or geographical limitations. These unions advocate for a balanced approach that caters to diverse needs and promotes fair working conditions. They also underline the malleability of culture, asserting that inclusive virtual cultures can emerge, transcending traditional office boundaries and enriching an organization’s identity.

Finding Harmony: A Vision for the Future

Harmonising these multifaceted perspectives requires a proactive approach. Real estate companies can adapt by embracing the hybrid work model, offering flexible co-working spaces and technologically advanced environments. Recognising teleworking’s potential, middle managers can champion innovation through diverse collaboration. Trade unions serve as a vital voice, advocating for balanced, inclusive approaches that prioritize well-being and fairness in the evolving landscape.



As we navigate the evolving landscape of work arrangements, our mission as a trade union dedicated to safeguarding workers’ rights gains even more significance. The clash of perspectives between middle managers’ preferences for the office, real estate companies’ concerns, and our unwavering commitment to employee well-being calls for a balanced approach that puts workers at the heart of the discourse.

Teleworking’s rise has the potential to reshape the future of work, offering both opportunities and challenges. While middle managers advocate for the office environment, real estate companies voice their financial concerns, and we advocate for equitable conditions, it is essential to remember that our collective efforts must prioritise the very individuals who power our economy.

As we navigate this transition, it is imperative to champion the rights of employees and leverage teleworking’s potential to benefit those facing geographic limitations. Teleworking’s rise opens doors for individuals who may have previously struggled with long commutes or geographical constraints. It provides a pathway to meaningful employment for those who were once excluded due to physical barriers. Our union stands at the forefront of ensuring that this transformative aspect of remote work is harnessed to promote inclusion and accessibility.

In this pursuit, we stand firm in championing fairness, inclusivity, and the right to meaningful work. Our focus extends beyond office walls and property revenues. We emphasise the importance of accommodating various needs, including those of employees with disabilities and familial responsibilities. Through a balanced approach, we can craft a future of work that is not only economically sustainable but also just, supportive, and respectful of individual rights.

As we engage in dialogues, negotiations, and advocacy, let us remember that every step we take shapes the working landscape for generations to come. Our commitment to workers’ well-being, fairness, and dignity serves as the guiding light as we navigate the intricate path ahead. In unity and dedication, we can pave the way for a future of work that empowers and uplifts each and every worker, ensuring their rights and aspirations are at the forefront of this transformative journey.

Isidoros Tsouros


Isidoros Tsouros assumed the role of Research Assistant at EUAA in 2019. With over 25 years of experience as a legal professional, he has had a distinguished career, being elected as the President of a Greek Law Bar Association on two occasions. In 2022, he was elected to the USB Executive Committee as a representative from the Agencies Section. This article reflects his trade union perspective and is written in that capacity.