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Study: Despite In-Office Mandates, Employees Continue Pushing Back

During the pandemic-driven shut-down, most white-collar employees participated in work-from-home arrangements. These days, employees are hybrid workers, spending part of their time in the corporate office, and the rest in their in-home offices.

But “Returning for Good,” a report issued by Unispace, indicates that firms are beefing up their in-office mandates. In a survey involving 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers across 17 countries worldwide, Unispace found that 79% of business leaders surveyed have told their employees that pay raises, promotions and bonuses will be more limited for remote workers versus those who show up in the office.

But such mandates aren’t enough to entice employees back to the office. And the survey also pointed out that employers and employees differ as to why work-from-home tends to be more appealing.

What the Bosses Are Saying

According to the survey, 83% of business leaders indicated that those who “attend meetings virtually will have a lower share of voice in the conversation than those in the office,” according to a release about the report.

On the other hand, employees are still pushing back on office mandates. The Unispace report indicated that 42% of companies with mandated returns are experiencing employee attrition at a higher-than-normal rate. In the meantime, 29% of those companies are struggling to recruit talent.

When asked why their workers are so reluctant to return to work, many employers pointed to the commute. But employees are saying something else.

Employees, Productivity and Privacy

Though 89% of employers believe that their current office setup is great for production, 52% of employees indicate that they struggle to do their jobs in the office environment because of frequent interruptions and a lot of meetings. As a result, it’s probably no surprise that 50% of the workforce indicated they’re in the office four or more days, while one-third of office workers said this is a preferred set-up.

As such, employees are looking for the following office amenities:

Dedicated workspace. There is a concern for lack of privacy in the workplace, with 86% of those surveyed indicating that assigned desk space would encourage them to increase their days in the office.

A place to socialize. A third of employees (33%) indicated they like to socialize while at work and would like more opportunities to collaborate. Specifically, 69% of office workers prefer to brainstorm in person and 62% of those surveyed want one-on-one meetings on site.

Office-related reimbursements. 83% of worker surveyed noted that free lunch options could lure them back into the office. Furthermore, 81% indicated that paid travel would also be a good back-to-office incentive.

Resolving the Disconnect

The report noted that employers and employees remain at odds concerning workspaces, hybrid work and WFH models. But even though employees demonstrate continued loyalty to companies, mandates jus aren’t enough.

“We can see that employers are clearly emphasizing the value of the workplace, but this, by itself, may not be enough to drive successful employee engagement and performance.” said Ryan Caffyn-Parsons, CEO, Unispace, Americas, in the release. “What our data also highlights is that employers may be missing an opportunity to better define the purpose of their office and how this can best enable their employees’ full work ecosystems.” 


Inside The Story


About Amy Wolff Sorter

I love content. I love writing it, visualizing it, and manipulating it to fit into different formats. I have years of experience in working with content, both as creator and editor. The content I create and edit provides assistance with many goals, ranging from lead generation, to developing street cred through well-timed thought-leadership pieces. Content skills include, but aren't limited to, articles and blogs, e-mails, promotional collateral, infographics, e-books and white papers, website copy and more.

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