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77% of Workers Think Companies Want Employees Back in the Office To Gain Greater Control Over Them: MyPerfectResume Report

Nearly a third say that their company has threatened to fire employees who don’t comply with RTO policies.

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

According to MPR’s 2024 RTO Survey, conducted between February 6-19, 2024 with over 4,200 U.S. respondents, 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.

MyPerfectResume’s RTO survey covered:

  • How many workers are getting pressure to return to onsite work
  • Why workers believe their employers want them to return to work
  • Which perks, including unlimited PTO, a four-day work week, and health benefits, could entice them back to full-time onsite work.

RTO pressure is mounting
The survey found that only 2% said they prefer to work on-site full time, 40% said that their companies are applying pressure to return to the office.

  • 40% report that their employer wants to increase office attendance.
  • 28% say that their company has threatened to fire employees who don’t comply with RTO policies.

Workers believe employers have motives for RTO policies
Workers have theories on why their employer wants them back onsite.

  • 77% believe that RTO policies are designed to give employers more control over workers.
  • 72% say that their employer believes working onsite will improve productivity.
  • 71% believe the push to RTO is because employers think it will improve communication and collaboration.
  • 64% believe their employer wants them back in the office because they don’t trust people to do their work.
  • 42% think companies want to reinstate on-site work to force attrition without the need for severance packages.
  • 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 onsite full time,” said Kellie Hanna, a 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,” Hanna concluded.

Perks won’t work
The study found that traditional benefits offered by employers, like access to onsite fitness accommodations, mental health assistance and childcare reimbursement, were not enough to sway a significant majority to return to the office. Instead, more elusive benefits like four-day work weeks, unlimited PTO and a significant pay raise are required to draw employees back to the office. However, even extremely valuable perks and benefits aren’t enough to entice most workers to return to the office. When asked if the following would convince them to return to the office full-time, the following reported yes:

  • A four-day work week (41%)
  • A 15% raise (41%)
  • Unlimited PTO (47%)

36% of people said that no perk or benefit was worth returning to the office full-time.

When asked which other benefits would encourage them to return to an office full-time, some fared better than others. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Fuel reimbursement (50%)
  • Health insurance (47%)
  • Free lunches (45%)
  • Learning and development budget (31%)
  • Financial wellness programs (30%)
  • Free access to onsite fitness accommodations (28%)
  • Mental health assistance (28%)
  • Student loan assistance (25%)
  • Socializing opportunities with colleagues (19%)
  • Childcare reimbursement (17%)

Survey Methodology
The findings presented were obtained by surveying 4,240 American respondents on February 6-19, 2024. They were asked questions about their sentiments around return-to-office (RTO) policies, current pressure from management to work on-site, and how other workplace benefits compare against remote work policies. The survey sought to better understand how RTO is currently impacting the workplace. These included yes/no questions, open-ended questions, scale-based questions relating to levels of agreement with a statement, and questions that permitted the selection of multiple options from a list of answers.