Push for office return stabilizes: survey

But employers shifting focus of office-return policies to new hires

Push for office return stabilizes: survey

Many employers have stopped asking employees to come to the office - instead, it's the new hires that they're asking to be on-site.

This is suggested by the latest findings of Perceptyx after it carried out a survey among working adults in the United States.

The survey found that 63% of respondents are working on-site as of the fourth quarter of 2023, just slightly higher than the 61% in the same period in 2022 and the 58% in 2021.

The percentage of hybrid employees is also at 24%, just slightly lower than the 26% in 2022 and 30% in 2021.

The percentage of remote employees also slightly increased to 14% in 2023, up from the 12% in 2022 and 2021.

These findings reflect recent statistics in other parts of the world. In Australia, 37% of employees there are still working from home regularly, just slightly down from the 40% in 2021.

"We've all heard stories about businesses telling their employees to show up in person or lose their jobs. But it looks like most companies aren't pushing their existing staff to come back to the office. Those numbers have stabilized," said Emily Killham, Perceptyx Senior Director, People Analytics, Research, & Insights, in a statement.

New hires driving on-site work

Instead, the findings are showing that the pressure is on new hires to carry out work in the office.

According to the report, 69% of new employees who had a year or less at their current organisation are now working on-site.

Killham said this suggests that employers might be phasing out remote and hybrid roles for new hires.

"The return-to-office (RTO) trend is largely being driven by new hires. If businesses are committed to full-scale RTO, they may be pursuing it through attrition, rather than forcing the issue with existing staff," Killham said.

The findings come after a massive push from executives this year on office returns as the impact of the pandemic to society declines.

It saw organisations implementing their own versions of hybrid work arrangements, triggering tensions within the workforce following resistance to office returns.

Executives have previously called out employees who refuse to return to work, while employees are saying office returns should be more "commute-worthy."

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