Leader Insights

This Week's Conversation at Frederick Andrews
8-20-2022

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With fortune 100 companies requiring employees to return to the office and employees wanting remote/hybrid work schedules, are we at a breaking point? 

Return to the office...or else? Or else what?

Fortune 100 companies are starting to require employees to return to the office (RTO). In part because of office space costs and lease renewals. But, from what we have learned, it is more about perceived employee efficiency. Organizations like Tesla require a 40 hour in-house work week (since June) or you need to tenure your resignation, and with the downturn in tech, we are seeing others in the tech industry implementing a  new RTO policy. Hybrid schedules seem to be the method most are taking. We are within weeks away from Apple requiring their employees to RTO (at least hybrid). But what if they don't return, is it an immediate resignation (as Tesla stated when they required 40-hours a week)? The answer isn't that easy!

 

Executives do not all agree on RTO policies. Many are opting for a hybrid system in lieu of required 40-hour work week in the office. With the current workforce climate and the battle for top level talent, many organizations are weighing the change in the employment industry and their need to have employees in the office. We conducted a confidential survey with our clients and more than 10% stated they have not begun their RTO policy and an additional 25% stated they haven't completed their RTO policy. If over 35% of our clients have not started or completed their RTO policies, it is clear that we are not close to coming to a consensus on how to handle the RTO situation. 

In a survey conducted of the employees of our clients, we identified that over 75% would like to keep a work for home (WFH/hybrid) policy, and would only consider an opportunity that is either WFH or hybrid. That same survey showed 85% of our clients would like their employees to be 100% RTO and 13% wanted some sort of RTO policy. The disparity is noteworthy, and puts them in direct odds with each other. When we asked why the employees did not want to RTO, less than 10% said it had anything to do with COVID-19 fears. The overall consensus was, they like the home/work balance lifestyle. Ultimately, it will be hard for organizations to force a 100% back in the office policy, unless there is another paradigm shift. And trying to force an employee to RTO or face unemployment, is not recommended. That approach will make it hard for an organization to retain a positive culture that encourages employees to stay with their company. So are we at a breaking point? We are very close, and we are advising our clients that are working to institute a RTO policy, they need to carefully look at the current climate, the need for the employees in the office, and policy guidelines. We ask them to investigate how their productivity may be different between their WFH employees versus RTO employees.

 

Not every organization is the same, some may need a stronger RTO policy, and some may be better suited to have a hybrid or WFH policy. If your organization is having a difficult time creating and implementing a RTO policy, we can assist you. No matter what your organization needs, we will work with you to roll out a policy that is inclusive and works for your organization and your employees.

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