News: 75% HR struggle to retain employees uncomfortable with office return: Survey

Strategic HR

75% HR struggle to retain employees uncomfortable with office return: Survey

Compensation emerges as a primary concern for employees considering a return to the office. Only a few employers have introduced incentives to encourage employees to come back.
75% HR struggle to retain employees uncomfortable with office return: Survey

Despite concerted efforts by companies, both large and small, to encourage employees to return to the office for an improved work-life experience, a significant gap persists between employers and employees on this matter. 

Recent survey data from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago highlights a substantial disparity in perspectives concerning the return to in-person work. The results reveal that fewer than half of the surveyed employees express satisfaction or comfort with the idea of returning to office spaces.

An impactful revelation from the surveys is that 75% of HR representatives recognise a challenge in retaining employees who exhibit hesitancy about returning to the office, and one in five perceives it as a major problem. 

Analysis of HR responses reveals that around 90% of employer return-to-office policies predominantly emphasise factors such as employee productivity, company culture, and collaboration. This emphasises the ongoing disconnect between employer priorities and employee preferences.

Compensation becomes a central concern for employees contemplating a return to the office. Only a limited number of employers have implemented incentives to motivate employees to return.

“While most employees say they are required to work in person, many of those who work remotely at least some of the time say there is no reason they need to be in the office. The survey of HR representatives indicates that companies need to determine priorities about whether and when to work in offices and explain these decisions to retain their workforce,” said Marjorie Connelly, senior fellow with NORC’s Public Affairs & Media Research department, reported News Nation. 

Employee surveys indicate that additional pay for in-office work is the most sought-after incentive. However, other benefits such as food and amenities, commuter perks, and enhanced access to company leadership also contribute significantly to job satisfaction. A quarter of HR representatives point to the loss of flexibility or work-life balance as the primary reason for employee hesitancy to return. 

Another quarter highlights the convenience and increased productivity associated with remote work. Additionally, 16% of HR respondents identify commuting time and cost as additional deterrents. Despite employees expressing a desire for compensation, very few employers have implemented incentives to encourage a return to the office. 

Commuter benefits and direct payment for returning to the office are rare offerings. Among those consistently working in person, 75% report mandatory in-office attendance by their employers. Surprisingly, 8% choose to work in person despite having the option for remote work, while 17% mention that, although some colleagues can work remotely, their positions are ineligible. 

For employees adopting a hybrid approach, approximately 30% are required to be in the office at least part of the time, and 22% opt for office attendance for collaboration or bonding with colleagues. The surveys also reveal that for-profit companies are almost twice as likely as government or nonprofit entities to introduce incentives such as social events, in-office social spaces, increased leadership access, and perks like free snacks.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #RemoteWork, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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