Return to Office

How do HR Brew readers feel about crowdsourcing RTO policy?

We asked, you answered.
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The Office/NBCUniversal via Giphy

· 3 min read

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The RTO game of tug-of-war between employees and leadership has become a saga of carrots and sticks: Some companies have mandated RTO, while others have been more lenient, sometimes giving up old offices in favor of remote setups and regular offsites.

Employees have made it clear they want to have a say: According to a recent Gartner survey of employees across the US, UK, India, and China, 77% said they’d like to participate in creating hybrid work plans at their companies.

We polled HR Brew readers to find out if they’re constructing hybrid plans based on their employees’ feedback. Among respondents, 42% said they sometimes ask for employees’ input, 28% said they let them heavily influence decisions, and the rest said policies are developed with leadership alone.

RTO, slow. A survey of the office landscape shows that current office occupancy has plateaued since its post-pandemic high in February. In fact, as the Wall Street Journal reports, office occupancy has decreased from 49% to 42% over that three-month period, citing data from Scoop Technologies, which monitors workplace strategies. Initial pushback against RTO was pronounced at some larger companies: Employees at Apple, for example, publicly resisted the company’s efforts to mandate RTO, though reports indicate Apple has been tracking employees’ attendance to ensure they come to the office at least three days a week.

Employees hesitant to return might be enjoying the fruits of work-life balance. A recent survey from the Conference Board found that job satisfaction among US workers is at a 36-year high. “You can find happiness doing other things like exercise and hobbies, and spending time with your friends and family. That’s what remote work has allowed you to do. And it’s what flexible schedules allow people to do,” Joshua White, professor of finance at Vanderbilt University, explained to HR Brew.

What about the buildings? Cities with a dearth of commuters relative to pre-pandemic times have seen the value of former office buildings plummet: In San Francisco, tech giants scrambled to find sublessees for office space late last year, and a 22-story building once worth $300 million has been devalued by 80%, the Wall Street Journal reported in April. It’s a similar story in New York, with corporate landlords facing an exodus of office tenants and rising interest rates, according to the New York Times.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

News built to help HR pros grow their impact & improve the future of work.