About 90% of companies plan to implement return-to-office policies by the end of 2024, according to an Aug. 22 report from Resume Builder.
Most of the 1,000 business decision-makers surveyed by Resume Builder said they currently track or will track their employees to ensure in-person attendance, and 28% said their organizations would threaten to fire employees who don’t follow new in-person mandates.
“It’s important to note that, when it comes to RTO, one size does not fit all. The majority of business leaders who plan to RTO in 2024 seem to understand that, in order to retain talent, they can’t force unwilling employees back to the office,” Stacie Haller, chief career advisor for Resume Builder, said in a statement.
“The end of 2024 is still a long way away, and the job market is constantly changing,” she added. “It remains to be seen if businesses will follow through on their RTO plans, especially when taking into account the recent backlash against major employers who have forced employees back to office.”
Only 2% of respondents said their company never plans to require employees to work in-person. About 51% currently require some or all employees to work in-person, while 39% plan to by the end of 2024 and 8% plan to by 2025 or later.
In terms of workspace, only 4% never plan to have a physical location for employees. About 64% of companies currently have a physical location, while 20% plan to by the end of 2024 and 11% plan to by 2025 or later.
Among those who work at companies where employees have already returned to the office, 31% required workers to come back in 2021, 41% in 2022 and 27% in 2023. Most respondents in this category said they’ve seen improvements across numerous areas, including revenue, productivity, worker retention, employee relationships and company culture.
Among companies that have returned, 83% currently track employee attendance, and among companies that plan to return in 2024, 70% plan to track employee attendance.
“Companies can threaten to fire employees over RTO policy, but they should keep in mind that this is still a very strong candidate market in many industries,” Haller said. “Companies who insist on RTO when employees are resistant may lose workers and struggle to hire talent from a smaller candidate pool.”
As companies move forward with these return-to-office plans, managers may find themselves in a difficult position when relaying new information and coordinating with team members. Workers will likely want to know “when and why” to come into the office and have agreements in place, according to a March Microsoft report.
Mandating in-person work could also lead to employee turnover, according to a recent Conference Board survey. HR executives have reported challenges with getting workers to return to the workplace, and those who have required on-site work said they were struggling to retain workers.
In addition, workers’ intent to stay has decreased in recent months at companies with mandates. To attract and retain talent, leaders will likely need to develop policies that balance workplace flexibility with the cultural benefits of in-person work, which could mean that hybrid options will remain popular next year.