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Getting employees back to the office a mistake

by on15 August 2023

Employers admit they were stupid

More than 80 per cent of bosses regret forcing employees back into the office and would have done it differently if they had a better understanding of what their employees wanted.

After COVID, executives wanted to get their employees back into the offices citing all sorts of reasons fearing the breakdown of teamwork and a loss of administrative control. Some employers were outright threatening and lost staff to companies which would let them work from home.

According to new research from Envoy, many companies are realising they could have been a lot more measured in their approach, rather than making big, bold, controversial decisions based on executives' opinions rather than employee data.

Envoy's CEO and founder Larry Gadea interviewed company executives and workplace managers who work in person at least one day per week. Some leaders lamented the challenge of measuring the success of in-office policies, while others said it's been hard to make long-term real estate investments without knowing how employees might feel about being in the office weeks, or even months, from now.

A consultant who advises corporate executives on their return-to-office plans Kathy Kacher said she was surprised that the numbers were not higher.

 "Many organizations that attempted to force a return to the office have had to retract or change their plans because of employee pushback, and now, they don't look strong. A lot of executives have egg on their faces and they're sad about that."

Last modified on 15 August 2023
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