The Problem with Return to Work Mandates

Post-pandemic, it seems as though management is determined to get employees back in the office and at their desks at any cost. Why? Management feels that productivity suffers for remote workers while remote workers feel the opposite. Where is the disconnect, and why are leaders putting out RTO mandates at the expense of employee satisfaction?

Despite working remotely during the pandemic, most white-collar workers are being told that working from home is to blame for their poor performance. Essentially, leaders are blaming remote work as a “catch all” for bad company performance and justifying RTO policies.

Using a sample of Standard and Poor’s 500 Firms, a recent study by University of Pittsburgh – Katz Graduate School of Business found that bosses are more or less attempting to regain control over their employees (and therefore, trust), but that the return to work mandates did nothing to boost the company’s bottom line. In fact, the study revealed significant declines in overall employee job satisfaction following the implementation of an RTO mandate.

Experts on this issue advocate for hybrid work schedules, citing the need for at least some form of in-office collaboration and team-building without sacrificing employee autonomy and flexibility.

Since 2019, the number of remote workers in the Baton Rouge metro area has more than doubled, and the numbers trend upward each year. Whether your workplace operates in-office, remotely, or a hybrid format, it’s important to consider the individual needs of the firm, productivity, employee satisfaction, and especially the ability to recruit and retain high-performing staff.