Should You Force Employees to Trudge Back into the Office?

When one of the top machine-learning experts at Apple left the company over the company's return-to-work (RTO) policy, stating that "more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team", the news grabbed the headlines. When leading organisations including Alphabet, Apple, Meta and Uber rolled out their (RTO) policies, little did they know that they would have to delay and tweak them multiple times as well as retreat from 3-day in-person plan. The mounting pushback from employees has been a driving factor.

Several back-to-work figureheads, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, who initially took a hard line on ending remote work eventually gave in to worker uprisings. A majority of Singaporeans, mostly Gen Zs and millennials, are refusing to work full-time. Over 80% of workers want permanent remote work, according to the study. Meanwhile, with the mass exodus is still on, hiring and retention is getting incredibly hard with top talents having multiple options to switch jobs.

As the employer-employee battle continues and several attempts to force workers back into the office have failed, some companies, such as Tesla, are being more rigid than others in their RTO mandate by tracking who shows up to work every week. Interestingly, companies are introducing never-before employee benefits schemes including flexible schedules, unlimited paid time off, expanded sick leave, benefits, and wellness programmes, in the wake of the tight labour market and the candidate-driven world.

The proponents of in-person work claim employees who wish to return to work are the most engaged, which insinuates that workers who prefer working from home are the least engaged. However, studies prove that the stigma associated with remote work is a myth and several organisations recorded high earnings and enhanced productivity in 2020 and 2021.

The developments lay bare the bewilderment transpiring in boardrooms globally while raising concerns that some firms might use the economic jitters as an excuse to chuck out workers who refuse to trudge back to the office.

So, what’s the best move?

  1. What does RTO mean for you? The office is where we used to work? Or the post-pandemic office is in the making?
  2. Is hybrid mode—which enables in-office days for collaboration and remote days for quiet focus—the best way forward? 
  3. Is the executive excitement about RTO old-school thinking about employment, or a critical step in post-pandemic life?
  4. How can we crack the code of post-pandemic talent war? Will letting workers choose what they want help fix the disconnect?
  5. What should a potential RTO plan look like for companies to become among the most successful companies of the post-COVID era?


Date: 23 Nov 6:30 PM AEST


Who Should attend:

  • CHROs
  • HR Leaders
  • CXOs
  • HR heads
  • Senior HR professionals and Managers