8 in 10 Employers will Track Office Attendance in 2024, But will it Benefit Anyone?

February 7, 2024
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New research from ResumeBuilder has found that 8 in 10 employers will track staff attendance in the office in 2024, with 91% of companies requiring employees to go to the office at least once a month, and 75% requiring they work from the office weekly.

These figures are perhaps no surprise to many of us in the corporate world who have witnessed the push and pull between flexible and compulsory attendance in the office since the pandemic. The problem is that, whether companies like it or not, the working world has significantly changed, and a stringent return to mandatory office life could be doing businesses more harm than good.

The problem with operating on a punishment model

The research also shows that, of the companies that will monitor office attendance, 1 in 3 companies will go as far as to fire employees who don’t comply. Alternatively, workers could face other consequences, such as their bonus being impacted (57%), benefits being affected (54%), or a reduction in salary (53%).

We’d use these kinds of punishments if a person failed to show up for their job at all, whether in-person or virtually. But office attendance isn’t a universally punishable offense. Many other companies will happily give people the freedom and trust to come in when they can, or when they want to. Pushing a model of punishment onto employees does nothing to improve company culture (ironically one of the core reasons companies want bums back in office seats). And let’s not forget that, in the UK, for example, the majority of workers say they’d rather quit than return to the office—an attitude that’s mirrored all over the globe.

Incentives can’t do the heavy lifting

ResumeBuilder’s research shows that the vast majority (91%) of companies say they’ll provide incentives for employees to return to the office. These include happy hours (52%), catered meals (46%), and upgraded office space (41%). The problem with this is that far fewer companies are willing to offer things like salary increases and childcare costs.

Sometimes we forget the core freedom that remote work affords people. It's not just ‘no commute’, it’s the ability to care for your children, work with a disability or mental illness, have a work-life balance, and live life on your own terms. These are benefits that no happy hour can subsidize.

The productivity myth

Productivity seems to be the crux of the ongoing debate around remote work. But it’s since been proven that productivity has much less to do with where your employees are physically, than the kind of culture you create for them, with some companies seeing as much as a 70% uplift in productivity with flexible work.

Perhaps rather than focusing on how best to punish people that don’t want to work from the office, brands and businesses would do better to invest that time improving the fundamental culture, benefits and wellbeing of their employees. Who knows, with such improvements in place, they may want to come into the office after all.

At Remotify, we specialize in helping companies and individuals thrive remotely, creating a culture of trust and togetherness anywhere in the world. If you’d like to find out more about our services, book a call with a member of our team today!

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