Return-to-office mandates risk disengaged employees, report finds

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November 2023

As an increasing number of organizations are enacting return-to-office (RTO) policies to bring employees back to the physical office, the risk of dissatisfied and disengaged employees accustomed to remote and hybrid work models is also rising. With the news of a growing number of organizations working to implement such policies, HR research and advisory firm McLean & Company has released its new resource, Return-to-Office Playbook.

McLean & Company’s RTO playbook highlights that a mandated one-size-fits-all approach is associated with numerous risks, including exclusion, increased turnover and disengagement, reduced productivity, employee backlash, and declining trust in the organization. The firm’s research indicates that these risks come with associated costs related to addressing reduced ability to recruit and retain talent, increased turnover, and lost engagement and productivity.

The new resource further underscores the important role timing plays in the initial stages of RTO implementation. External factors like weather, holidays, and other geographic considerations, as well as personal factors such as family or caretaker responsibilities, will impact employees’ experience coming into the office. To address implementation concerns, the firm suggests employing a diverse strategic planning team with different backgrounds and experience levels to provide diverse perspectives and help mitigate bias.

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