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Workers Think Companies Want RTO for Greater Control

MyPerfectResume, a leading resource for resume and career advice, has announced findings from its 2024 Return to Office Survey, indicating workers’ sentiment around RTO policies, current pressure from management to work on-site, and how other workplace benefits compare against remote work policies. The survey seeks to better understand how RTO is currently impacting the workplace.  

According to the survey, conducted in February, 77% believe that companies are mandating RTO policies because they want to have more control over their workers. About one in three (28%) say that their company has threatened to fire employees who don’t comply with RTO policies.  

The survey found that only 2% of employees prefer to work on-site full time, 40% say that their companies are applying pressure to return to the office. Further, workers have several theories on why their employers want them back in the office.  

More than three-quarters (77%) say that RTO policies are designed to give employers more control over workers, 72% say that their employer believes RTO will improve productivity, and 71% believe that the push to RTO is because employers think it will improve communication and collaboration. Approximately 64% believe their employer wants them in the office because they don’t trust employees to do their work remotely, 42$ think companies want to reinstate on-site work to force attrition without the need for severance packages, and 34% say companies demand RTO because leadership wants an excuse not to have to work from home. 

“Even if offered high-value perks, like unlimited paid time off and a four-day work week, most people still said it wouldn’t be worth returning to work on-site full time,” says Kellie Hanna, career expert at MyPerfectResume. “The value that workers place on remote work options simply cannot be ignored by companies trying to attract and retain talent.”  

The study finds that traditional benefits offered by employers, like on-site fitness accommodations, mental health assistance, and childcare reimbursement, are not enough to sway most of them to return to the office. Instead, more elusive benefits like four-day work weeks, unlimited PTO, and pay raises are required to draw employees back to the office. However, even extremely valuable perks and raises aren’t enough to entice most workers back to the office. 

When asked if the following would convince them to return to the office full-time, the following report yes: a four-day work week (41%), a 15% raise (41%), and unlimited PTO (47%). Still, 36% say that no perk or benefit is worth returning to the office full time.  

When asked which other benefits would encourage them to return, some appear more valuable than others. These include the following:  

  • fuel reimbursement (50%); 
  • health insurance (47%); 
  • free lunches (45%); 
  • learning and development budget (31%); 
  • financial wellness programs (30%); 
  • free access to fitness accommodations (28%); 
  • mental health assistance (28%); 
  • student loan assistance (25%); 
  • socializing opportunities with colleagues (19%); and 
  • childcare reimbursement (17%).  

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