A recent University of Pittsburgh study backs up with hard analysis what many have thought all along: return-to-office mandates are favoured by controlling bosses.
The team behind the study analysed S&P 500 firms that publicly announced return-to-office (RTO) policies, and examined if mandates affected both the financial performance of the company and employee wellbeing.
Despite many CEOs insisting employee productivity is lower at home, the financial performance of firms implementing RTO policies was analysed and the researchers found no change in company performance or stock market values.
The return-to-office problem
Mark (Shuai) Ma, co-author of the report, says the research indicates that bosses are using RTO mandates to reassert their control – even if it costs the business financially.
This means managers make decisions to feel more secure themselves, rather than make them in the best interests of the company or its employees.
So instead of taking accountability for poor performance, insecure managers point the finger at work-from-home productivity – despite this tactic having a very clear shelf life.
The report also found that companies which had poor performance during the pandemic, when firms had no choice but to facilitate working from home, were more likely to introduce RTO mandates.
RTO mandates are more common with male CEOs and higher-profile managers in S&P 500 companies, the researchers discovered.
Ma said, “It is my personal belief that, as prior research suggests, most CEOs are very narcissistic. That means they are used to being in the centre of everything and issuing orders for employees to follow.
“But after the pandemic, they feel kind of like they’re losing power because employees became more and more aware of their rights during the great resignation.
“So, the managers feel that they are losing their power inside the firm, basically, and as a result, they want to grab their power back in this relationship. And that’s the reason we found such results.”
Employees won’t be surprised to hear that after a RTO mandate is introduced, productivity actually drops due to lower job satisfaction.
As a result, the report recommends that high-performing employees continue to work from home, if they wish, as finding alternative remote working opportunities has never been easier, and talented employees will just leave.
Ma advocates for monthly team-building activities in person to maintain company culture, and echoes employee sentiment and multiple reports which state that flexibility is the greatest benefit a company can offer.
The UKTN Job Board is full of remote tech roles across all industries and experience levels, many with leading global companies. Three companies currently recruiting are highlighted below.
This Irish IT service management company prides itself on its flexible and remote working policies, stating that “Version 1 is tremendously understanding of life events and people’s individual circumstances and offers flexibility to help achieve a healthy work-life balance”.
With over 26 years in business, the organisation has scooped a ton of best workplace awards, including Best Workplace for Wellbeing in the UK 2023 by GPTW. Available roles for the UK vary from AWS DevOps engineers, to portfolio directors, digital advisors and many more.
Owned by Canadian software company AgileBits Inc, 1Password is a password manager that supports multiple browsers and operating systems – you may remember the personal assistant ads with Canadian-American actor Ryan Reynolds, who invested in the company in 2023.
Remote roles are in this organisation’s DNA as the company was founded remotely in 2005. Varied positions are plentiful, though many are remote in the US and Canada only, but there’s still many remote opportunities in the UK too, primarily account manager and account executive positions.
Oracle is one of the largest software companies in the world, and though headquartered in Austin, Texas, the organisation hires across the world for in-person, hybrid and fully-remote roles.
Recently advertised remote roles in the UK include those for senior project managers, software developers, AI leaders, and enterprise architects. Data centre builds and ops, and cloud facilities and services, are a big focus for Oracle at the moment as it builds its Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Delivery Engineering team, so expect to see lots more roles in these areas.
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