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null How would an end to flexible working impact your talent strategy?


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A recent survey found that the majority of bosses believe that employees will return to the office full time within the next three years.

Many senior figures are also considering linking pay and promotions to attendance in the workplace. One study of 800 business leaders found 80 percent of companies plan to track in-office attendance in 2024.

But what impact would an end to flexible working have on your talent strategy?
76% of employees are ready to go elsewhere if their company puts an end to working from home. Perhaps an enforced return to the office is in need of a rethink.
In this article, we’ll delve into the impact a Return-to-Work Mandate could have on your organisation. It could be time to embrace the benefits of flexible working arrangements, both now and into the future.

What is a Return-to-Office Mandate?

A ‘Return-to-Office’ Mandate (RTO) instructs remote or hybrid working employees to return to the company’s office.
It is a controversial approach, with some employees responding with petitions, walkouts and resignations. As a result of this negative reaction, some employers are now considering taking a different strategy. Instead, employers are encouraging collaboration and offering incentives for workers to commute instead.

What are the benefits of flexible working for employers and employees?

There are many flexible working benefits for employers and employees alike. Business leaders may cite boosting collaboration and connection as key reasons for returning to the office. However, there are suggestions that the benefits of a more flexible approach could outweigh these advantages, including:

Employees enjoy a better work life balance

Employees will all have their own priorities in addition to work, such as childcare or other family responsibilities. Parents may need flexible start and finish times or compressed hours to take their children to school, for instance. The rigid eight-hour office day does not cater for these additional priorities and responsibilities.
Improving the work life balance of employees can also have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing. When employees feel happier and healthier, it leads to fewer absences.

Offering flexible work can attract and retain talent in the long term

Recruiting staff can be an expensive and time-consuming process for an organisation, but by opting for a full return to the office, you may be at risk of increasing staff turnover.
If an experienced employee prioritises a flexible work life balance, they may seek employment elsewhere. Offering flexible working arrangements could help retain valuable staff members.

Remote working increases access to a larger talent pool

A huge 87% of people want to work flexibly. However, only 11% of job adverts list being flexible as a benefit. Organisations could be missing out on talented employees as a result.
Tina Chander, head of employment law at Wright Hassall explains: “Over-reliance on physical office presence could result in overlooking the talents of remote workers. As a result, those valuable employees could seek opportunities elsewhere.”
By embracing flexible work options, employers could also attract a more diverse workforce with valuable skills and contributions.

Working remotely can increase productivity

Some employees may work more effectively in the office, but this isn’t the case for everyone. Our recent UK-based Salary & Recruiting Trends Guide reveals that only one-third of hybrid workers feel more productive in the office.
Introducing a blanket RTO mandate won’t guarantee improved productivity. In fact, it may have the opposite effect for some of your employees.

Can employers encourage employees back to the office full time?

Business leaders should think about what they hope to achieve from bringing employers back to the office. If the plan is to encourage collaboration, businesses should allocate resources accordingly. This may involve prioritising in-person meetings, brainstorming sessions, or professional development opportunities.
Companies with return-to-office mandates witnessed a higher level of employee attrition than they had initially anticipated. It seems that employers must adapt to flexible work policies or risk losing valuable employees to more adaptable competitors.

Find more tips from across Enterprise Solutions

Looking to future proof your organisation? Find more information on flexible working strategies here: