Why do employers want employees back in the office?

Leaders maintain a belief that employee collaboration is negatively impacted by remote work, but the evidence to support this assumption is mixed.

Publishing date
16 August 2023

The forced mass-scale shift to work-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed both employees’ and employers’ perspectives on work location, demonstrating that more jobs could be done remotely than we could have imagined before. 


Since we emerged from the pandemic, there is an ongoing debate about a full-scale return to office, as well as hybrid and remote work. 


Employee surveys across different countries consistently indicate that employees prefer to remain working remotely and do not want to return to the office full time. At the same time, many companies are trying to bring their employees back to the office.

In this episode of The Sound of Economics, Giuseppe Porcaro speaks to Tatiana Andreeva about her latest work researching employers’ experience of working fully remotely during the pandemic and their approaches to returning to the office following the pandemic.

Relevant publication:

Mulcahy, D., and T. Andreeva (2023) ‘Employer perspectives on employee work location: collaboration, culture and control’, Working Paper 05/2023, Bruegel

This was produced within the project "Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe" with the financial support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

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