Nine out of 10 companies report that by the end of 2024, they will have introduced new back-to-the-office policies restricting their employees' opportunities to work from home.
In a survey from August by the agency Resume Builder, approx. 30% of 1,000 decision-makers emphasize that their company will threaten to fire employees who do not comply with the rules for office attendance.
The growing demands to limit employees' hybrid work comes as CEOs of several of America's largest companies have expressed their reluctance to remote work because productivity, collaboration and employee engagement suffer from that way of working.
Although many companies this year already introduced stricter requirements for attendance at the office, the average occupancy rate at offices in the US's large cities in the first week of September was down to just 47.3% compared to before the covid.
"It's a long time until the end of 2024, and the labour markets change constantly. We'll see how companies decide to realize tight RTO ambitions when they face the reactions with which employees meet employers who try to force them back to their office spaces.
No RTO strategy is one-size-fits-all. In the end, most managers realize they will not keep their talented employees by forcing them back into the office," Resume Builder career advisor Stacie Haller comments on her current survey.
Differentiated analyses show that, in the long run, remote work is not unequivocally
more productive than working in the company's offices. Photos: iStock
Although the report focuses on US companies, the work-from-home criticism is, in many respects, the same in other global labour markets in Europe, Asia, Australia, etc.
Differentiated analyses point out that, in the long run, remote work is not unambiguously more productive than working in the company's offices. That depends on i.a. types of work, age groups and so on.
Chose to quit
In August, the American dating app Grindr ordered its employees back to their offices. They got two weeks to decide whether they agreed to work two days a week in the office or leave the company with severance pay.
Result: 80 out of 178 employees felt forced to leave their jobs. Many were hired to work remotely and couldn't bear to find a new residence near Grindr's offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC.
The two giants Amazon and Meta and a number of other large US companies have
introduced mandatory attendance for their office employees min. 3 days a week -
or they will risk sanctions and dismissal.
"We look forward to returning to the office in October with a hybrid model that will further improve productivity and collaboration for our entire team," a company spokesperson comments.
In September, the two US giants Amazon and Meta made it mandatory for all their office employees to come to their workplace at least three days a week, which their immediate managers will check and follow closely.
The way forward
"Companies should be very clear about the extent to which they can afford to lose valuable talent and diversity before moving towards rigid rules for their employees," Harvard Business School professor Prithwiraj Choudhury, who researches the future of working conditions, points out.
"They should rather provide thorough advice enabling the individual employees to decide which workflows they match the best. That applies in particular to the companies' female employees."
Companies should be clear to what extent they could afford to lose talents and key
employees by forcing them back to the office, a US professor warns.
Choudhury feels convinced that hybrid workflows belong to the future and that, over time, these work patterns will grow even among the most critical companies. His research reports that employees being free to work remotely 75% of their work hours expose the most productive.
"The vast majority of companies are fighting for the same talent pool. Flexibility gives them the opportunity to attract and retain the greatest talents and most skilled employees." ●
Cnbc.com: 90% of companies say they’ll return to the office by the end of 2024
Hrdive.com: 9 in 10 companies will return to office by end of 2024, survey says
Cnn.com: Dating app Grindr loses nearly half its staff after trying to force a RTO
Washingpost.com: Return to the office? These workers quit instead