More and more workers are being forced back to the office - and they aren't happy

remote home working
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Many workers have complained their employers have become stricter about their return-to-office (RTO) policies following a big push for remote working in the wake of the pandemic.

A survey conducted by recruitment agency Randstad UK found 60% of 2,000 workers across the UK feel that despite the clear trend toward in-person working both across the UK and globally, more than half (54%) now describe the option to work from home as a “non-negotiable” factor when choosing where to work.

Last year was characterized by widespread RTO movements, and 2024 has already proven to be on the same tracks, with companies like Amazon, Google and Apple all asking workers to spend at least some of their working days in the office.

Companies are still pushing the RTO agenda

Many workers, especially younger generations who have entered the labor force since the pandemic, have now become accustomed to the added flexibility brought on by hybrid and remote working. However, bosses and execs have been deliberating over the effects of fragmented working on productivity, claiming that workers could be more likely to work better with ad-hoc in-person connections.

Victoria Short, CEO for Randstad UK, commented: “Organizations digging in and refusing to budge on remote working could face a great deal of pain as a result… They need to keep that in mind when trying to attract and retain talent.”

Shedding light on the ideal setup, Randstad UK’s study revealed that the majority of workers prefer an average of two-and-a-half days in the office. Civil servants and telecomms workers wanted the most days at home, the study found.

Besides asking workers to return to the office, many companies have been reacting to challenging economic conditions by laying off workers. The trend gained traction in late-2022 and early-2023, but while layoffs have seemingly slowed down in recent months, they still look to be very prevalent, with nearly 40,000 redundancies across the sector so far this year (via

Via The Register

More from TechRadar Pro

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!