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Return-to-office mandates killing employers

by on02 August 2023

Staff got the taste of freedom

Autocratic employers who insist their staff come into the office to attend long and tedious powerpoint demonstrations from middle managers are losing all their good people, a new report has found.

Three reports,  the Greenhouse Candidate Experience report, the Federal Reserve's Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED), and Unispace's Returning for Good report, have shown that 42 per cent of companies with return-to-office mandates witnessed a higher level of employee attrition than they had anticipated. And almost a third of companies enforcing office returns are struggling with recruitment.

Employers knew the mandates would cause some attrition, but they were more concerned that managers would have no point for existing if they were not there to distract workers from doing their jobs with pointless “brainstorming” meetings.

But it is turnout a lot worse than they expected and it could get a lot worse. More than 76 per cent of employees stand ready to jump ship if their companies decide to pull the plug on flexible work schedules, according to the Greenhouse report.

Employees from historically underrepresented groups are 22 per cent more likely to consider other options if flexibility comes to an end. In the SHED survey. The survey equates the displeasure of shifting from a flexible work model to a traditional one to experiencing a 2-3 per cent pay cut.

Meanwhile flexible work policies have emerged as the ultimate edge in talent acquisition and retention. Greenhouse found that 42 per cent of candidates would outright reject roles that lack flexibility. The SHED survey affirms that employees who work from home a few days a week greatly treasure the arrangement.

Interestingly, Unispace throws another factor into the mix: choice. According to its report, overall, the top feelings employees revealed they felt toward the office were happy (31 per cent), motivated (30 per cent), and excited (27 per cent). However, these feelings decrease for those with mandated office returns. Staff members were more open to returning to the office if it was out of choice rather than being forced.

Last modified on 02 August 2023
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