The State of Return to Office Policies

Many companies have opted to modify or end their remote work allowances for employees in favor of requiring them to spend more time in the office. These return-to-office policies have largely been met with mixed reviews as employees’ opinions vary—some celebrate the in-office mandates while others brace for the loss of work-life balance offered by remote work. The question remains: how to retain employees while meeting the expectations of decision-makers? 

A survey by Resume Builder shows 90% of companies will return to their offices in 2024, yet 80% of bosses regret their initial decisions to enforce return to work policies, according to research by Envoy. Still, 72% of companies report improved revenue because of these policies. Return to office standards and their advantages aren’t one-size-fits-all. Many companies, teams, and individuals benefit from spending more time in the office, while others prioritize the flexibility offered by remote work. 

The motives behind implementing return to office policies or limiting remote work vary. Human resources professionals shared their company’s “why” behind calling employees back to the office in a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management

  • Need for in-person collaboration and teamwork 
  • Workplace culture and employee engagement considerations 
  • Leadership preferences 
  • Desire to restore a sense of normalcy and routine 
  • Employee productivity concerns 

Poll: How Are Return to Office Policies Impacting You? 

We asked readers of the Express Blog how transitioning from remote work to in-office would impact their work-life balance and to share their thoughts on their company’s remote work policy in a poll

Fifty-one percent of respondents said their work-life balance would worsen. Twenty-four percent said their company doesn’t offer work from home options, while 14% believe their work-life balance would improve with more time in the office. Only 12% don’t anticipate changes to their work-life balance. Here’s what poll respondents had to say:  

  • “I do feel that remote work is something our employees generally prefer (although there are a few exceptions), and now that we are trying to create hybrid schedules, we have been met with varying levels of resistance to coming back to the office. Remote work options have become an important part of the benefits package employees look for in a job, so this is something we need to be sensitive of in a very tight labor pool.” 
  • “If there are existing work from home policies, they should not change it to return to office. Particularly in light of the expiring childcare assistance, enacting return to office will only harm the workforce, cause increased stress thereby decreasing performance and your bottom line, or cause the companies to lose large quantities of employees at a time.” 
  • “I used to be fully remote. Now required in office three days a week. It’s honestly a tough transition. I get less done and spend less time working because of the social environment.” 
  • “I work in construction; we worked through COVID. Coming into an office is not a huge deal … I really think the office environment helps young workers learn from experienced workers and overall helps in problem solving.” 
  • “It’s my job; I should be at my job.” 

Only time will tell the future of return to office and remote work policies. What do you hope becomes the norm? Let us know in the comment section below!  

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