9 in 10 companies will require employees to work from office in 2023

During the pandemic, company offices shuttered and many homes became offices for the first time.

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on work culture, but the percentage of workers making weekly trips to the office is climbing. Although only a fraction of workers are back in the office full-time, it remains to be seen how frequently employees will be allowed to work from home.

ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 business leaders to find out if their company has implemented a return to office plan or if they intend to in 2023.

Key findings:

  • 66% of employers currently require employees to work from office
  • 90% of companies will require employees to return to office in 2023
  • 21% of companies will fire workers who do not return to the office
  • 88% of companies are offering incentives to get employees to return, including catered meals, commuter benefits, and higher pay

73% of remote companies will RTO within 6 months

Of the companies that currently allow employees to work fully-remotely, 73% say they will ‘definitely’ (28%) or ‘likely’ (45%) change their work location policy in 6 months from now.  With this upcoming change from companies that currently still allow full-time remote work, this means in 6 months, 9 in 10 companies overall will require employees to come to the office with some frequency.

Not only will the majority of companies that currently allow workers to be fully remote change that policy and require them to return to office, but companies that currently make employees come to the office will ask them to come in more frequently in 6 months.

For companies that are currently hybrid, 77% say their policy will change. A percentage (13%) will shift to having employees be back full-time from the office, 40% will require employees to come in 4 days a week, and 31% 3 days a week.

Given the shift back to office culture, a large number of companies (67%) plan to have more office locations in 6 months. The majority of companies still have fewer offices today than March 2020.

21% of companies will fire workers who refuse to RTO

Overall, 88% of employers are using incentives to get employees back to the office. Some, however, are less encouraging than others.

21% say they will fire workers who do not comply with the return-to-office plan.

On a more positive note, the most popular incentives employers are offering include catered meals (41%), commuter benefits (35%), and raises (34%).

96% of business leaders see benefits to in-person work

The vast majority of respondents (96%) say there are benefits to having employees in the office versus working from home.

Business leaders cite improved communication (55%), creativity (50%), productivity (48%),  company culture (39%), and employee oversight (31%).

However, career strategist and job search coach, Stacie Haller questions the validity of the idea that there are benefits to in-person work over remote work.

“It’s been shown over and over that employee production increases with remote work. So why do employers want employees back in the office?” Haller asks.

“I believe some of this is generational. Older managers are not used to working with a remote team and hold prejudices and have outdated ideas about work culture. If these return-to-office decisions were in the hands of younger managers, who are more accustomed to working remotely, I think we’d see less companies shifting back to an in-office culture.”

Despite this, 74% still plan to hire remote workers in the future. According to Haller, this is because we’re still very much in a candidate market.

“Companies know that to attract the top candidates and retain them, they will need to offer remote work in some version,” Haller says.

“In my practice working with job-seekers of all experience levels, 95% are only looking for remote/hybrid positions. Organizations such as AirBnB understand this and will continue to offer remote positions in order to retain employees and attract new talent.”

Two-third of employers currently require employees to come to office

As of today, only 34% of companies continue to allow employees to work fully remotely. Currently, 45% have a hybrid policy, while 21% say employees must work full-time on-site.

For companies that have a hybrid model, 16% require employees to come into the office 4 days a week, 46% 3 days a week, 27% 2 days a week, and 7% once a week. Additionally, 3% say employees must come a few times a month, and 1% just once a month.

Methodology

All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,000 American business leaders were surveyed.

Appropriate respondents were found via employment status and organizational role demographic criteria and screening questions. To take the survey respondents had to answer that their company has been in business for at least 3 years, and prior to the pandemic the majority of employees worked from a traditional office space.

This survey was conducted on September 22, 2022. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email Julia Morrissey at [email protected]