A new report has revealed that return-to-office mandates, implemented by many of the world’s most influential companies in the months and years following the pandemic, aren’t actually leading to bigger profits.
As the world began to return to normal, CEOs shared the many claimed benefits of working in the office, not least because impromptu meetings could improve collaboration and productivity (a key word used by business leaders that ultimately means profit).
However, according to the analysis of 500 companies by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, profits are not growing as expected.
Return-to-office mandates don’t work
Despite claims from managers that remote working is a barrier productivity and reduces company performance, the survey found that employees opposed this position.
Greater flexibility and the elimination of commutes have the opposite effect in many cases, giving employees not only more time to do their jobs but also more likely to work longer hours. Remote and hybrid working have also been shown to be beneficial for employee well-being.
The report summarizes: “The results of our determinant analyzes are consistent with managers using RTO mandates to reassert control over employees and to blame employees as scapegoats for poor corporate performance.”
Ding and Ma of Pittsburgh University’s Katz Graduate School of Business challenged the belief that working in the office would boost corporate profits and found no significant changes in profitability and stock market valuations after the companies implemented their new rules.
In addition to financial implications, the survey also revealed rising employee dissatisfaction among those asked to return to the office.
Headlines of companies asking employees to return to the office have continued in recent months, but are now being followed by a new wave of layoffs attributed to tough economic conditions.