Return to Office Mandates Trigger Employee Attrition and Recruitment Woes

Return to Work

Return to Office Mandates Trigger Employee Attrition and Recruitment Woes

The aftermath of compulsory office returns is proving to be a turbulent storm for many businesses, with higher employee attrition rates and recruitment struggles taking center stage. This grim reality is highlighted in three insightful reports: the Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report, the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED), and Unispace’s “Returning for Good” report.

Unispace reveals that an alarming 42 per cent of firms enforcing office returns have seen a higher employee turnover than anticipated. Additionally, 29 per cent of these companies are grappling with recruitment issues. The severity of the situation was underestimated by many, with the fallout proving more damaging than expected.

The Greenhouse report further underscores this issue, revealing that a whopping 76 per cent of employees are prepared to leave their jobs if flexible work options are taken away. Furthermore, employees from historically underrepresented groups are 22 per cent more likely to seek alternatives if forced into rigid work schedules.

The SHED survey quantifies the discontentment among employees forced to switch from flexible to traditional work models as akin to a two-to-three per cent pay cut. In the high-stakes game of talent acquisition and retention, it’s clear that flexible work policies are the queen piece – formidable, decisive, and game-changing.

The Greenhouse report further emphasizes this point by revealing that 42 per cent of job candidates would reject roles without flexibility. The SHED survey supports this finding, affirming that employees value the ability to work from home a few days a week, comparing it to enjoying a day at the beach while remaining digitally connected.

So, what’s tempting employees away? The Greenhouse report suggests that flexible work policies are a major drawcard. These policies outshine other factors such as pay, job security, and promotion opportunities when it comes to employee preferences.

Unispace adds another dimension to the discussion: choice. Their report indicates that employees generally have positive feelings towards the office – 31 per cent feel happy, 30 per cent feel motivated, and 27 per cent feel excited. However, these feelings diminish for those forced to return to the office (27 per cent, 26 per cent, and 22 per cent respectively). This suggests that employees are more receptive to returning to the office when it’s a choice rather than a mandate.

Cognitive biases play a significant role in shaping our perceptions and decisions. For instance, the status quo bias, which inclines us towards maintaining current states or resisting change, can explain why employees are reluctant to give up flexible work arrangements. A tech startup that decided to revert to pre-pandemic in-person work arrangements after successfully operating in a hybrid model during the pandemic experienced this firsthand with an unexpected surge in turnover.

The resounding message from the Greenhouse, SHED, and Unispace reports is clear: businesses must adapt to flexible work policies or risk being sidelined. As we forge ahead into the future of work, flexibility isn’t just a fleeting trend; it’s a necessity and the new norm.

While considering this new norm, businesses should also pay attention to creating comfortable work environments for those who choose to return to the office. For instance, providing ergonomic furniture like an electric height adjustable standing desk or the best sit stand desk can contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity. The health benefits of an electric stand up desk are numerous, including improved posture and reduced back pain.

In conclusion, as we navigate this evolving landscape of work, it’s crucial for businesses to adapt and prioritize employee preferences or risk facing higher attrition rates and recruitment struggles.

author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

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Josh Oliver 04/02/24

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