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RTO Mandates Threaten Retention and Productivity

Flexibility is a key differentiator for employers, according to new research from Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture. In a market survey of 4,400 U.S. employees, mandates are linked with higher turnover risk and higher rates of disengagement for employees. When employees can pick where they work, they are: 

  • three times more likely to want to stay with their organization; 
  • 14 times less likely to quit and stay; 
  • more likely to report giving extra effort on the job; 
  • more likely to have a good relationship with their manager; and 
  • more likely to say they have a psychologically and emotionally healthy work environment.  

Despite the data, seven in 10 U.S. employees report that their employer mandates where they work.  

At typical U.S. workplaces, employees see benefits when working remotely. More than a quarter (27%) are more likely to look forward to coming to work, 19% are more likely to say their workplace is psychologically and emotionally healthy, and employees are able to form stronger relationships with managers.  

However, workplaces with high levels of trust are doing even better. The data shows that any company can create a workplace that employees love, even if they don’t offer remote work. At typical U.S. workplaces, 64% of employees without mandates report having a psychologically and emotionally healthy work environment, compared to just 51% of employees with mandates. High-trust workplaces outperform both with 83% of employees saying their workplace is healthy.  

Great Place to Work research shows that remote work options are just one of the ways employers can meet the needs of their people. Not every employee wants to work remotely, and many jobs don’t accommodate remote or hybrid work options. However, workplaces can find creative ways to meet the need for flexibility, including: 

  • flexible scheduling; 
  • four-day workweek; 
  • generous PTO policies; 
  • predictable schedules for hourly workers; and  
  • increased opportunities for part-time work. 

While more employees at typical U.S. companies report a healthy work-life balance, fair pay, and other important experiences, psychological and emotional health hasn’t improved since 2021. The data shows that typical U.S. companies continue to struggle to support the mental well-being of employees, despite gains on other aspects of the employee experience.  

Tags: Productivity, RTO, talent retention

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