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Gartner Study Finds One In Three Executives Would Quit If Forced Back To Office

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New research from Gartner shows one-in-three executives would leave their company if they were forced back into the office full-time.

The survey of more than 3,500 employees was held in November 2023.

It found 19 percent of non-executives would also leave if they were told to come back full-time.

Another survey carried out of 170 HR leaders found organizations are increasing on-site requirements.

It found:

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  • 63 percent of respondents reported an increased expectation around employees spending days in the office.
  • 34 percent said a mandated return has already been implemented.
  • 13 percent said the consequences for employees not meeting on-site requirements have intensified.
  • Caroline Ogawa, Director in the Gartner HR practice, said:

    “While 5 percent of executives with a mandate to return to the office said their organization provided a convincing reason for the decision, many senior leaders are unwilling to come back into the office.

    “An April 2024 Gartner survey of 64 HR leaders revealed 64 percent say senior leaders are concerned onsite requirements will increase attrition.”

    Previous research by Gartner found mandating staff to return to the office has serious implications for talent attraction and retention.

    A survey was carried out in January of nearly 3,000 candidates.

    It found 36 percent of senior-level job seekers told to return said it helped them decide to leave.

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    Caitlin Duffy, Senior Director in the Gartner HR practice, said:

    “Retaining key talent has become harder due to mistrust between employees and employers, employee burnout and disengagement, and fiercer competition in the labor market.

    "With RTO mandates influencing the job-seeking and loyalty of senior-level candidates and employees, organizations that force workers to come into the office are likely to weaken their leadership bench and complicate succession planning.”

    Gartner's advice

    The company has identified four best practices for HR leaders looking to formalize in-office requirements.

    • Motivate rather than mandate employees back to the office by making them feel capable, autonomous, and connected via their office space and hybrid policy.
    • Consider focusing employees’ on-site attendance around specific regular activities (e.g., brainstorming) and occasional events (e.g., offsites).
    • Enable employees to shape their RTO requirements; employees who feel that their needs are considered exhibit higher engagement and work performance.
    • Provide a clear reason behind requirements for working on-site; employees who understand why their employer wants them to come into the office show greater engagement, discretionary effort and retention.

    The full report can be found here.

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