Nine in 10 employers want workers back in offices by 2023

Expert claims there's a 'generational' factor behind the C-suite demand

Nine in 10 employers want workers back in offices by 2023

Nine in 10 employers will impose return-to-office schemes by next year, according to a new report, and will be incentivising employees’ return for a higher chance of compliance. Research from revealed that 28% of companies allowing remote work will "definitely" change their work location policy six months from now, while another 45% said they will "likely" do the same thing.

"With this upcoming change from companies that currently still allow full-time remote work, this means in six months, nine in 10 companies overall will require employees to come to the office with some frequency," read the report.

For hybrid companies, 13% said they’ll bring back their employees full time, 40% said they want their employees back four days a week, while 31% want them to return three days a week.

Read more: Will remote work thrive or die over the next two years?

Reasons for returning

According to the report, which surveyed 1,000 business leaders, 96% of the respondents said there are benefits of having employees work at the office than at home. These reasons include:

  • Improved communication (55%)
  • Creativity (50%)
  • Productivity (48%)
  • Company culture (39%)
  • Employee oversight (31%)

Stacie Haller, career strategist and job search coach, however, believe there's another reason on why managers want employees back in workplaces.

"I believe some of this is generational. Older managers are not used to working with a remote team and hold prejudices and have outdated ideas about work culture," said Haller. "If these return-to-office decisions were in the hands of younger managers, who are more accustomed to working remotely, I think we'd see less companies shifting back to an in-office culture."

However, saying they want employees back is not as easy as it sounds. Surveys have already shown that some employees would rather quit or take a pay cut than return to their workplace. This resistance comes amid safety concerns raised by the pandemic, as well as the rising cost-of-living crisis that encourages employees to remain at home to reduce financial burdens.

Read more: Return-to-office stress: Employees reveal their workplace anxieties

To address this hesitation, 88% of employers said they plan to use incentives to encourage compliance to return-to-work orders. These incentives include:

  • Catered meals (41%)
  • Commuter benefits (35%)
  • Offering raises (34%)
  • Improved office space (32%)
  • Most casual dress code (22%)
  • Team/company events (22%)
  • Pet-friendly office (15%)
  • Childcare benefits (13%)

On the other hand, the report also found that 22% of employers would consider dismissal for employees who refuse to return.

Read more: Can you fire an employee for refusing to return to the office?

Currently, 34% of companies allow fully remote work arrangements, according to the report, while 45% have a hybrid policy, and 21% have full-time on-site shifts. Despite the huge number of employers who will change policies and go back to workplaces next year, 74% said they still plan to hire remote workers in the future.

Haller said offering flexibility is a way to cater to the market, which remains in favour of jobseekers.

"Companies know that to attract the top candidates and retain them, they will need to offer remote work in some version," said Haller. "In my practice working with job-seekers of all experience levels, 95% are only looking for remote/hybrid positions. Organizations such as AirBnB understand this and will continue to offer remote positions in order to retain employees and attract new talent."

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