Philly’s New Mayor Orders Remote Workers Back to Office

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Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker has instituted numerous changes since taking office in January. Her latest move, however, is likely to stir discontent among city staff, particularly those who have benefited from remote work. 

In a press conference on Monday, Parker announced that all city employees on remote arrangements must transition to full-time, in-office work by Monday, July 15, as reported widely. Parker highlighted that this shift is more than a routine change; it’s a crucial element of her administration’s strategy to enhance the city and boost government efficiency.

“To align with my Administration’s goals of fostering a more visible and accessible government, I have informed all City workers that they will be shifting to full-time, in-office work effective July 15, 2024,” Parker stated. “All City employees are to transition to full-time in-office or on-site work.”

A virtual work policy was adopted on June 21, 2021, to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s challenges. Parker’s directive will terminate that policy. 

Despite the mayor’s directive, it’s important to note that most of the city’s employees had already resumed in-office work several months back. Currently, Philadelphia employs about 25,000 government workers, according to city data. As of 2023, around 80% had returned to full-time, in-person work, the Mayor’s office disclosed in a press release. The remaining 20% worked approximately 31 out of 75 hours per pay period on-site.

“Being physically present at the workplace enhances personal and productive interactions, improves communication, and fosters social connections and collaboration,” Parker’s statement read. “It fulfills my pledge to create an accessible City workforce best positioned to serve the Philadelphia community. A more consistent in-office presence will cultivate environments where equal employment opportunities and diversity, equity, and inclusion can genuinely thrive.”

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