Tech giants feel the sting of senior departures after a mandatory return to office

July 5, 2024
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Some of the world’s most powerful tech giants are losing senior talent by forcing them to return to the office, according to new research by the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago. The study, which analyzed 260 million resumes, found that senior team members are far more likely to leave a position if a return to the office is made mandatory.

Which tech giants have seen the biggest drops?

Microsoft’s senior staff dropped by over 5% after implementing a return to office (RTO) plan. Similarly, Apple experienced a 4% exodus after mandating a minimum of one day in the office per week. But the most shocking drop can be seen at SpaceX where, after insisting senior team members spend all five days in the office, the company saw a whopping 15% plunge in personnel. The findings appear to show a correlation between days spent in the office and the number of departures—the more time required in the office, the more likely people are to leave.

A need for flexibility

Interestingly, a different piece of research by Morning Consult, which consulted 6,625 adults in the USA, found that worker attitudes towards hybrid work are becoming increasingly positive, with 29% saying they preferred a hybrid work model in 2024, up from 25% the previous year.

What this tells us (global tech giants take note!) is that a level of flexibility is required in order to retain talent—whether that’s senior team members or entry-level new starters. As SpaceX found out, by setting rigid rules around office days, there will inevitably be people who simply jump ship, rather than struggle with an arrangement that doesn’t work for them.

Similarly, given that hybrid work is proving even more popular than fully remote work, companies would do well to trust their employees to come to the office when they can. Every employee is different. They have different personal lives, different physical and mental requirements, and different barriers to working from a singular place. The best and most popular employers will be the ones that take these differences into consideration when thinking about time spent at work, versus time spent elsewhere.

For anyone worried about losing top talent, the best antidote may be trusting your employees to do what they feel is right for them.

At Remotify, we believe that the best workplaces are flexible workplaces. We’ve helped countless companies transition from mandatory office hours to a more flexible approach, handling the complex details on your behalf. Want to find out more about how we do it? Book a call with a member of our friendly team today.

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