Are Workers Ready To Return To The Office?

Apparently, the answer is "No:" New research from Robert Half shows that 50% of workers would rather quit than return to the office full time.

The majority of companies want their staff back on-site, but half of employees surveyed said they’d look for a new job if required to return to the office five days a week, according to a Robert Half survey.

After two years of Covid-19 disruption, many companies are eager to get their employees back in the office for good: In the survey of more than 2,300 senior managers in the U.S., two-thirds of respondents (66%) said they want their teams to work on-site full time as pandemic-related restrictions ease. This is down five points from a similar survey conducted last year, which may indicate that companies have warmed up to the idea of flexible work.

return to the office


Currently, only one in three senior managers support long-term hybrid schedules (allowing staff to divide time between the office and another location) and employees’ ability to choose where they work. Technology bosses (37%) were most open to flexibility.

The Risk Of An Employee Exodus

Return-to-office plans may lead to more resignations, according to separate research from Robert Half. In a survey of more than 1,000 professionals, half of respondents currently working from home (50%) would look for a new job that offers remote options if their company required employees to return to the office full time, up 16 points from one year ago. Working parents (55%) and millennial professionals (65%) are mostly likely to quit if called back.

“Employers may be holding onto the idea that the office is the best place to collaborate, innovate, and get things done — but workers feel otherwise,” said Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “Companies already face retention challenges, and taking away remote options will only exacerbate the problem. Hybrid work models give employers and employees flexibility and choice and are the way forward.”

How To Embrace A Flexible Work Model

Companies may want to adopt a long-term hybrid work model but not know where to start. Trisha Plovie, senior vice president of future of work at Robert Half, offers five questions to help guide the process:

  1. How will you define “hybrid”? Will employees be required to come to the office certain days each week or only for specific purposes, such as trainings or team building?
  2. How can you improve your onboarding experience? As you hire remote employees, consider how you will make them feel welcome, supported, and part of a team they might never meet in person.
  3. Do you have the right technology to support effective communication and collaboration? Consider what new tools to implement to create a seamless experience for onsite and remote staff.
  4. What business processes will be impacted? Anticipate problems, adjust workflows, and ensure everyone has access to the resources they need.
  5. How will you build and maintain engagement and morale? Create equal opportunities for all employees to grow and develop, network, and build authentic relationships with colleagues.
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