Skip to main content
Affordable Employee Training Exclusively for NJBIA Members LEARN MORE

More and more companies are asking employees to return to the office, but many of these workers are ignoring the request.

According to a new survey by The Conference Board, 54% of companies are mandating or strongly encouraging workers to be on-site. However, nearly 80% of their employees are still working either fully remote or hybrid schedules.

In fact, workers’ dissatisfaction with return-to-office mandates may lead more workers to jump ship. Indeed, nearly a third of those required to come back to the workplace said their intent to stay with their organization had decreased.

The survey also reveals the pros and cons of fully remote vs. fully on-site work. Most strikingly, the results suggest a relationship between companies with fully remote employees and layoffs. Thirty-three percent of remote employees report their companies have implemented layoffs, compared to only 13% of fully on-site workers.

The latest workforce survey from The Conference Board was fielded from April 25 to May 5 and polled nearly 1,300 U.S. employees — predominantly office workers. Respondents weighed in on their work arrangements, return-to-the-office policies, productivity, engagement levels, and more. Key findings include:

Remote vs. On-Site

  • Nearly 80% work either fully remote or hybrid (partially remote) schedules.
  • Only 15% of survey respondents are on site five days per week.
  • 28% are fully remote
  • 50% work some variation of a hybrid schedule (remote some of the time).
  • More than half say working on site is either strongly encouraged or mandated by their organizations


  • 28% of those whose organizations mandate they work on-site say their intent to stay with the company decreased in the past six months.


  • 33% of fully remote employees say their organizations have implemented layoffs in the past six months, compared to 25% of hybrid workers and only 13% of those fully on site.


  • 35% of fully remote workers say their productivity is higher than 6 months ago, compared to 20% of those fully on site and 22% of hybrid workers.
  • 19% of fully on-site workers report decreased productivity, compared to 16% of hybrid and 8% of fully remote workers.

Team Building

  • 37% of hybrid workers and 45% of fully remote workers say they are concerned about limited connection with their colleagues — the top response for each.
  • 35% of fully remote workers say they have no concerns.
  • Blurred work-life boundaries are also a concern for fully remote (31%) and hybrid workers (30%).
  • Only 47% of organizations now offer in-person team building and celebratory events.

“In a world that can often seem like its gone mad, we need to reimagine the workplace as an oasis for workers,” said Rebecca Ray, Executive Vice President, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “Businesses should not only be thoughtful about why they’re asking people to come back to the office but make it a place where people can come to do their best work, can learn and grow, and can have a meaningful impact.”

On-Site Work Concerns

  • 52% say they have no concerns.
  • 28% are worried about the increased time and cost of commuting.
  • 21% are worried about increased interruptions or distractions.

On-Site Concerns by Gender

  • Significantly more men working fully on site say they have no concerns about working in the physical workplace (60%) than women (38%).
  • Women are more concerned about distractions in the office (35% vs. 14%), the time and cost of commuting (38% vs. 22%), and constant expectations of being on or available (28% vs. 7%).

On-Site Concerns by Generation

  • 38% of millennials working fully on site are concerned about the time and cost of commuting, compared to 27% of Gen Xers and 24% of Baby Boomers.
  • 35% of Millennials working fully on site are concerned about work-life integration, compared to 20% of Gen Xers and 14% of Baby Boomers.
  • 31% of Millennials working fully on site are concerned about the constant expectation to be available, compared to 14% of Gen Xers and 12 of Baby Boomers.

“Workers are looking for opportunities to connect with their colleagues,” said Robin Erickson, vice president, Human Capital, The Conference Board. “Offering chances to get together and celebrate may provide some with enough of a reason to go into the office. But keep in mind that being together in person is not the only way to recognize accomplishments and celebrate as a team. Leaders should be intentional about building culture and comradery in a remote setting as well.”