A recent survey conducted by software company Checkr indicates an unexpected development in the remote work debate: 68% of managers, including CEOs, middle managers, and business owners, favor remote work, compared to just 48% of workers. In spite of this, many businesses continue to enforce return-to-office (RTO) policies.
The great disconnect
This disconnect between managers’ preferences and the policies they enforce is driven by various factors. There are three main factors at play: traditional workplace efficiency beliefs, shareholder expectations, and financial constraints. Even if it seems that both executives and employees would prefer remote work, CEOs of large corporations such as Amazon and JPMorgan Chase have expressed their support for the restoration of offices.
Financial incentives and shareholder pressure
One of the main reasons behind this push for office returns is financial. Businesses struggle with the buried costs associated with empty office space. For example, each employee’s annual cost of office space in New York City is roughly $16,000. Some businesses are reluctant to share with these expenses and claim that RTO is required to cover these fees.
Challenges in managing remote teams
Another factor is the difficulty in managing remote teams. According to a Checkr survey, 70% of managers find it easier to supervise employees in person. The need for better management training for distributed teams is evident, as the current situation sees a mismatch between managerial preferences and capabilities.
The future of work
The future of work remains uncertain. The most common setup now is hybrid work, which combines in-office and remote work. But the labor market is changing, and more managers and employees are asking for flexibility. Websites like Remotive.com offer extensive resources for those seeking remote opportunities, indicating a growing trend towards this mode of work.
The RTO mandates might seem like a knee-jerk reaction to a complex problem. The preference for remote work among bosses challenges the traditional notions of office-centric work. As companies navigate these preferences and market realities, the landscape of work continues to evolve, with flexibility and remote work becoming increasingly central to this evolution.