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Employers are upping their incentives to bring workers back to the office

Companies incentivizing return to office
Companies working to incentivize return to office 04:05

Free lunch and game nights and live concerts — oh boy!

These are some of the perks a growing number of U.S. employers are dangling in front of workers, in hopes of luring them back to the office. Companies are also relaxing their dress codes, adding commuter benefits and even raising salaries to entice employees. 

"Salesforce now is saying to every employee who comes in, we'll make a $10 charitable contribution to a cause of their choice," Emma Goldberg, reporter for the New York Times, told CBS News. "So that's a nice spin on these incentives."

The incentives have been hit or miss so far, Goldberg added. As of May, about 12% of full-time employees are working fully remote while 29% are hybrid and 59% are in office, according to data from WFH Research, which tracks remote work trends. A hybrid work schedule is the most common setup for workers allowed to work from home, the WFH survey shows. 

New reality: hybrid work

"I think we're seeing that hybrid work is our permanent reality," Goldberg said. "The office is not going to look like it did in 2019."

The pandemic made working from home a necessity for millions of U.S. workers, but many companies now want employees to commute into the office again, arguing that staff members are more productive when they're in the same setting as their co-workers. 

A 2020 study published in the Harvard Business Review found that 38% of managers either agree or strongly agree that "the performance of remote workers is usually lower than that of people who work in an office setting." Forty percent of respondents disagreed, and 22% were unsure.

Amazon, Apple and Starbucks are among the companies now requiring employees to come in to the office three days a week, despite resistance from some. A February survey by the recruiting firm Robert Half found that 32% of workers who go into the office at least once a week would be willing to take a pay cut to work remotely full-time.

Employees are pushing back on return-to-office mandates because many say the time they spend commuting takes time away from caring for loved ones, Goldberg said.

"We're not just talking about commutes and finding parking," she said. "We're talking about people's families and their lives."

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