Senior employees are increasingly leaving firms who make them come back to the office

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New research has shed light on the negative impacts of companies’ return-to-office mandates, with more senior workers apparently fighting back against the rules.

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago found senior-level employees are actively leaving companies including Microsoft, Apple and SpaceX in favor of working for companies that promote more flexible and hybrid working setups.

The study analyzed resume data from tech workers who had been affected by office-working mandates, choosing notable firms such as those above for their early re-implementation of in-person working.

Workers still aren’t happy with office working

The research found Microsoft’s policy, which required workers to spend half their week in front of a desk in their formal workplace, resulted in a 4% increase of sub-senior vacancies. Apple’s policy attracted a similar number of walk-outs, while SpaceX saw a staggering 15% loss of senior talent.

Interestingly, the study also paid close attention to workers’ post-departure destinations, noting that many Microsoft workers had transitioned to companies like Intel, Amazon, Dell and Meta.

Furthermore, the study warns of the border implications of RTO mandates, highlighting the need for a better balance between remote and on-site work policies.

The study concludes: “Our findings imply that return to office mandates can imply significant human capital costs in terms of output, productivity, innovation, and competitiveness for the companies that implement them.”

As more companies adopt similar in-person working policies driven by the belief that such environments foster a more productive workplace, and others continue cost-cutting measures including layoffs, the impact of such mandates on talent retention could become even more apparent.

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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!