Execs who force employees back to the office are ‘tone-deaf,’ says AIMCo CEO
CALGARY — The CEO of one of Canada’s largest institutional investors didn’t mince words Wednesday when speaking about the recent push by some corporate leaders to order employees back to the office full-time.
“I’m amazed at, frankly, how many tone-deaf, white male CEOs are saying, ‘you must come back to the office.’ I think they’re asking for fights with their employees,” said Evan Siddall, head of the Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) and a former CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Since the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, those employees have been able to decide within their individual teams how often they want to come into the physical office — with the company suggesting that two days a week be the “starting place” for that conversation, but no firm rules to that effect.
“Our philosophy at AIMCo is we’re all adults,” Siddall said. “Where you do this work doesn’t matter. There’s some orthodoxies around culture, where people say, ‘you can only preserve a culture if people are in the office full-time.’ I just don’t agree with that.”
For Canada’s white-collar workers and employers, the pandemic was a years-long experiment in flexible, remote work.
This September has pitted some bosses and workers against each other with a renewed push by some companies to get employees back into office buildings.