Oxford Backtracks After Barking Up The Wrong Tree With Return-To-Office Signage
As employers and landlords invest in office changes to entice employees back to the workplace, one property manager has largely missed the mark.
Canada-based property manager Oxford Properties is backtracking after pictures of its signs in a Toronto office building went viral, upsetting employees in the building and causing an online uproar.
The signs were placed in the lobby of Oxford Properties’ Richmond-Adelaide Centre last week, Canadian website blogTO confirmed, and were intended to be a "lighthearted" way to welcome employees back to the office, Oxford Properties said.
But the signs — like one including a picture of a dejected dog starting at an open laptop with text that read, "Bet your dog's missing you" — struck a sour note with office tenants and passersby. Another sign showed a photo of loungewear bottoms and read, “Miss your sweatpants yet?”
The signs, which all said “Welcome back” at the bottom, have since been taken down, Oxford told blogTO.
Twitter user Audra Williams posted the photos.
“In the lobby of an office building in Toronto. I guess to make sure employees are flooded with resentment the instant they walk in the door?” Williams wrote. Her tweet has been retweeted 14,500 times and liked 149,700 times.
In the lobby of an office building in Toronto. I guess to make sure employees are flooded with resentment the instant they walk in the door? pic.twitter.com/oWUDofGvzK— Audra Williams (@audrawilliams) March 7, 2022
Oxford Properties admitted its signs had badly missed the mark, the company told blogTO.
"The campaign should have not made it into production and we sincerely apologize to any customers, colleagues and members of the public that were offended,” Oxford Properties said in a statement to the website.
After more than two years of hybrid and remote work, employers have looked to a number of amenities and perks to entice employees to come back to the office in person, including daycares, outdoor spaces, fancy food offerings and game rooms. But while many Americans have resumed pre-Covid levels of eating in restaurants, air travel and going to professional basketball games, workers were going into the office at just 33% of their pre-pandemic levels in the first week of this month.