Many CEOs secretly hoping forcing employees back to the office will make them quit

Office workers
(Image credit: Image Credit: Cadeau Maestro / Pexels)

A new study by HR software firm BambooHR has unveiled the sad reality facing many companies amid widespread tech layoffs and return-to-office mandates in a post-pandemic work landscape, highlighting a significant disconnect between employer intentions and workers satisfaction.

Its survey of more than 1,500 employees, including around 500 HR professionals, found a quarter of executives and a fifth of HR professionals admitted they hoped RTO mandates would drive employees to quit.

The news comes as companies worldwide continue to struggle with budgets – halfway into 2024, and’s research shows that more than 90,000 tech workers have already been laid off, or around one-third of the number of tech workers made redundant in the whole of 2023.

RTO mandates are designed to force workers to quit

The study found that 37% of leaders believed their companies had implemented layoffs in the past year due to insufficient voluntary resignations. A similar number of workers also noted a suspicion that pushes for office-based working had been designed to increase surveillance of employees.

Moreover, the pressure to be visibly productive has led workers to socialize and move around the office simply to appear busy. BambooHR’s head of HR, Anita Grantham, highlighted this as being particularly counterproductive.

Grantham noted that two in five (42%) employees felt they were only present in the office to be seen by their bosses and not necessarily to do more work.

Remote employees also face similar pressures, with many adopting the “green status effect” by keeping work messaging apps open and active to appear constantly online.

Despite these efforts, both in the office and remotely, workers reported spending about two hours of their working days on non-work-related activities.

Grantham suggested that companies should focus on creating a culture that respects individual employee needs and fosters open communication. Without clear and supportive policies, the push for a return to office could continue to break down employee-employer trust, negatively impacting productivity.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!