Employers Sweeten Incentives to Encourage Return to Office for Workers
A growing number of U.S. employers are offering enticing perks and benefits to entice employees back to the office. In addition to relaxing dress codes, companies are implementing commuter benefits, increasing salaries, and providing charitable contributions based on employee choices.
Salesforce, for example, pledges to make a $10 charitable donation to a cause chosen by each employee who returns to the office. This approach presents a positive spin on the incentives, according to Emma Goldberg, a reporter for the New York Times.
The effectiveness of these incentives has been a mixed bag thus far. WFH Research data from May indicates that approximately 12% of full-time employees are fully remote, while 29% follow a hybrid work schedule and 59% work in the office. Hybrid work arrangements, combining remote and in-office work, appear to be the most common setup among employees with the option to work from home.
Goldberg suggests that hybrid work is becoming the permanent reality, and the traditional office environment of 2019 will not be replicated. The COVID-19 pandemic forced remote work upon millions of U.S. workers, but now companies argue that productivity is higher when employees are physically present with their colleagues.
A 2020 study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that 38% of managers agree or strongly agree that remote workers’ performance is generally lower than that of office-based workers. However, 40% disagreed, and 22% were uncertain.
Despite resistance from some employees, companies like Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks now require their staff to work in the office three days a week. Nonetheless, a survey conducted by the recruiting firm Robert Half in February showed that 32% of workers who currently commute to the office at least once a week would be willing to accept a pay cut in exchange for full-time remote work.
Employees are pushing back against the return-to-office mandates, emphasizing that commuting takes valuable time away from caring for their loved ones. Goldberg highlights that the concerns extend beyond mere commuting logistics to encompass people’s families and personal lives.