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RTO limited to new hires, survey shows



Dive Brief:

  • Companies are no longer pushing workers to come back into the office, and instead are focusing on putting new hires into in-person jobs, according to a recent panel survey of working adults by employee insights company Perceptyx. 
  • In the past two years, the percentage of workers in remote and hybrid roles has seen little change, and there hasn’t been any statistical change in the proportion of workers in on-site roles, Perceptyx found.
  • However, the number of new employees working in the office rose from 62% to 69% from 2022 to 2023, Perceptyx found. Meanwhile, other groups recorded small increases or even decreases in in-office roles.

Dive Insight:

Recent surveys have recorded an increase in return-to-office pushes, but the Perceptyx data offers a different take on the numbers. 

“Employers may be phasing out remote and hybrid roles for new hires,” Emily Killham, Perceptyx senior director of people analytics, research and insights, said in a news release. “We’ve all heard stories about businesses telling their employees to show up in person or lose their jobs. But it looks like most companies aren’t pushing their existing staff to come back to the office… If businesses are committed to full-scale RTO, they may be pursuing it through attrition, rather than forcing the issue with existing staff.”

The shift could be in response to the retention concerns employers have in trying to force workers back into the office. 

Fifty-four percent of the HR professionals who responded to a recent survey by NORC at the University of Chicago said making remote workers return to the office is creating a “minor problem,” and 19% characterized it as a “major problem.” About one-quarter said retention isn’t a problem. 

Companies that are enforcing RTO mandates have said they would track employee attendance in the office to ensure compliance, primarily through badge swipes. Eight in 10 businesses intend to track attendance this year, business leaders told Resume Builder, and most said employees will face consequences if they don’t adhere to the policy.

Yet, workers are finding ways to get around requirements, according to a survey last June by Owl Labs, a hybrid tech provider. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they are “coffee badging,” or just appearing in the office for a few hours to get face time.

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