Return to Office and the Tenure Distribution | University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and Ipsos

Workforce Trends

As HR and talent practitioners utilize research-based studies to inform workplace practices, this new working paper sheds light on the impact of return to office (RTO) mandates on employee turnover, particularly senior-level employees. It focuses on Microsoft, Apple, and SpaceX because they were “among the first large American tech companies to implement RTO mandates.” A key finding is that RTO mandates coincide with longer-tenured and more senior employees leaving their organizations; many of the departing employees are being hired by direct competitors. The authors note: “our results suggest that RTO policies can lead to an outflow of senior employees, posing a potential threat to the productivity, innovation, and competitiveness of the wider firm.” As a bonus, I am resharing: 1) A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh that reveals no significant changes in S&P 500 firms’ financial performance or stock market value post-RTO mandates but identifies a decline in employee satisfaction. 2) Research from the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California indicates that a 10% increase in work-from-home opportunities corresponds with a 0.78 percentage point (or 0.94%) increase in mothers’ employment relative to other women. Empirical research can foster more informed decision-making that minimizes reliance on trends, biases, and anecdotal information.