Many companies are implementing a Return to Office (RTO) policy for their employees, and as employees wonder why companies are requiring return to office, they’re learning that they have to balance their requirements with employee pushback. A survey of 1,000 corporate decision-makers by found that 90% of companies with office space will have an RTO policy this year. For some companies, this means steering towards a hybrid model, blending remote work with days spent at the office, and for others, it means taking a more traditional route, requiring employees to fully re-immerse in the office environment.

Regardless of each company’s unique approach, employee pushback is inevitable. To ease the implementation of an RTO mandate and achieve the best possible outcome, companies and their employees must understand the motives behind requiring a return to office.

Benefit #1: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation

A compelling argument for bolstering collaboration and innovation lies at the core of why companies are requiring return to office. The value of in-person interactions is unparalleled, offering an environment for the easy exchange of insights and team cohesion. An in-office setting inherently encourages more real-time collaboration and problem-solving, elements that can be challenging to achieve in a virtual team environment despite today’s technology.

Benefit #2: Building a Unified Company Culture

An advantage of returning to the office is nurturing a desired company culture. Team members’ physical togetherness cultivates a sense of unity and belonging. This proximity heightens morale and encourages engagement within a shared space. The exchange of experiences and learnings and the opportunity for face-to-face meetings help reinforce the organization’s culture. An in-office atmosphere is critical to forging a collective identity where every team member feels integral to the company’s success.

Benefit #3: Supporting Training and Development Opportunities

The immersive experience of in-office training and development programs surpasses what is often achievable through digital meeting spaces. When companies ask employees to return to the office, they open up a realm of hands-on learning, direct mentorship, and invaluable networking that is hard to replicate in a virtual setting. In this setting, employees have the advantage of immediate feedback and guidance, accelerating their learning curve and paving the way for professional advancement.

Benefit #4: Addressing Performance and Productivity Concerns

The shift to a structured office environment significantly minimizes issues of distractibility and isolation, which can challenge productivity when working remotely. In a face-to-face office setting, there is a heightened level of accountability and camaraderie that is often lacking when team members work from various locations. By fostering an in-person atmosphere of mutual support and shared goals, companies have a better chance of elevating performance levels.

Why Employees Are Reluctant to Return to Office

It’s no surprise that remote workers appreciate the autonomy remote work affords and wonder why companies are requiring return to office. Having adapted to a lifestyle that offers greater flexibility, many find returning to the office undesirable. In a 2022 Gallup survey, workers listed the top benefits of hybrid work arrangements as better work-life balance, productivity, efficiency and control over where and when they work, with less burnout. For these reasons, employees may prefer to stay at home where they can:

  • Avoid daily commuting
  • Maintain a healthier work-life balance
  • Lessen the burden of childcare
  • Ensures better health than in populated work environments.

This reluctance underscores the need for a more adaptable approach to accommodating diverse employee needs and preferences outside of the current return-to-work policies.

Enticing Workers to Return to Office

Committed to fostering a smooth transition back to the office, companies are at the forefront of reimagining the workplace. The key to enticing workers is creating an environment that resonates with their evolving needs. Introducing flexible scheduling options, for instance, can offer employees the autonomy they’ve grown accustomed to, balancing the structure of office life with the freedom of remote work. Additionally, enhancing the office atmosphere with amenities that promote health and well-being, such as ergonomic workspaces or relaxation areas, signals a commitment to employee comfort and satisfaction.

Moreover, establishing open channels for dialogue allows employees to express their concerns and suggestions, ensuring that the transition back to the office is a collaborative journey between management and their teams, not just a top-down mandate. Through these thoughtful initiatives, companies can create a compelling case for the return to office–one that aligns with the desires and well-being of their workforce.

The Impact of Return to Office Policies on Talent Mobility

In a recent article, WERC (Worldwide ERC) suggests two points regarding RTO and mobility. First, as companies settle on RTO structures, their need to move employees to support those structures—and overall business and talent strategies—will become clearer. With greater clarity comes the need to implement mobility programs to facilitate relocations.

Next, WERC noted that clear and consistent RTO policies are vital to employee morale and retention. Top companies recognize that prioritizing the employee experience yields numerous benefits for their business, including enhanced productivity. Neglecting the employee experience can negatively affect a company’s future growth and profitability.

Employees with a positive view of their company are far more likely to consider employee relocation to support company objectives and their career path within the organization. TRC Global Mobility concurs with WERC that as employers plan RTO mandates to support productivity and company culture, they should prioritize their employees’ well-being.

TRC Blog

Keep Exploring This Topic.

Get more expert insight on what matters most for your business -- keep checking out the TRC blog.

Ready to make your relocation program even better? Let’s move.

You’ve got a destination. We’ve got the plan to get you there. Let’s get started.

Talk to a relocation specialist today

Man talking on a phone