The French cosmetics giant L’Oréal imposes Fridays in the office twice a month

Employees at French cosmetics giant L’Oréal have been back in the office three days a week for more than a year now. But, the company leaders have decided, this is no longer enough. Since last week, Fridays have become mandatory office days, twice a month. The company’s 87,000 employees were notified of the new rule last month and it went into effect Thursday. The Sunday Times reported. Leaders hope the new rule “promotes employee collaboration,” according to the Times.

Things haven’t always been this way. In November 2022, David Greenberg, American CEO of L’Oréal, like many of his colleagues, announced that workers had to return to the office three days a week. And Greenberg sweetened the deal: Workers at the cosmetics giant’s West Coast headquarters in El Segundo, California, would be greeted with a personal butler.

Workers at L’Oréal, whose subsidiaries include Kiehl’s, Maybelline and La Roche-Posay, would be able, for $5 an hour, to hire a concierge for personal matters. Los Angeles Times reported at the time. This included taking their cars to the gas station, picking up their laundry, or taking their pets to and from doggy daycare.

L’Oréal has offered concierge service in some form since 2009, but after everyone distanced themselves during the pandemic, it took on renewed significance as a bargaining chip to lure workers to their desks. In the end, the company was better positioned than many others: Its offices have gyms, restaurants, tons of free products, and even bars that occasionally double as bars. Fortune reported in 2022.

The advantage of the almost free concierge is however the highlight. L’Oréal subsidized the cost of these goalies, which CEO Greenberg felt was worth it. “We are in an industry that is largely people-driven,” Greenberg said Los Angeles Times. “[There is] the commitment, creativity, sharing and mutual learning necessary”.

Among large companies that have similarly adopted return-to-office mandates, such as Meta, Salesforce, and Google, only L’Oréal has made a genuine effort to sweeten the deal. The others actually worked backwards, taking away the benefits pandemic-era workers enjoyed. (Meta in 2022 discontinued its free laundry and dry cleaning benefits and also reduced the cut-off time for the free meals rule, from 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

Passion, attachment and creativity

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last month, its global CEO, Nicolas Hieronimus, said that even at three days a week, workers lack “passion, attachment and creativity”.

It’s an unusual move, if you ask other business leaders. Over the summer, Steven Roth, the billionaire president of Vornado, one of New York City’s largest commercial real estate owners, officially deemed Fridays “dead forever,” and Mondays are also on the chopping block.

“I thought it would be more stable, but I guess… Friday [is] increasingly winning the WFH stakes,” said Nick Bloom, a Stanford economist and WFH expert Fortune via email in August. “I think it’s part of the larger push towards coordinated hybrid, whereby we have companies pushing for people to arrive on the same days.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Friday is consistently the emptiest day in the office. The average worker jumps at the opportunity to start the weekend a little earlier, and even before the pandemic, the allure of “summer Fridays” expressed the general population’s desire for a slightly softer entry into Saturdays. Add in the growing push for four-day workweeks, which generally eliminate Fridays first, and it’s no wonder that L’Oréal is one of the very few companies to mandate Fridays in particular.

Not where L’Oréal is concerned. One of the reasons why L’Oréal “started running” returning to the office after the pandemic, Hieronimus continued in Davos, “is that we didn’t do like many tech companies and say that everyone works from home all the time, and now they say, ‘Oh my God, it was a mistake, please go back.’”

“I think it’s essential to be in the office. It’s all about serendipity. It’s about meeting people,” Hieronimus said, adding that remote work is “very harmful” to workers’ mental health. In-person work, on the other hand, is “vital to the company and it is vital to the employees. It is also fair to the workers who work in the factory every day.”

Sign up for the new Fortune CEO Weekly Europe newsletter to get corner office insights on the biggest business stories in Europe. Sign up for free.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *