Korn Ferry Survey Reveals Impact of Return-to-Office Mandates

Los Angeles, April 25, 2023 – As more employers tell employees it’s time to get back into the office, a new Korn Ferry survey shows what kind of impact returning will have on workers.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of professionals surveyed say their employer is mandating a return to the office, while more than half (58%) say going back will have a negative impact on their mental health.

When asked if they would prefer a job with a higher salary but no flexibility to work remotely, or a job with a lower salary but flexibility in where they work, 72% said they’d take a lower salary if they could work from home. The top reason they want to work remotely: avoiding the hassle of getting ready and commuting to the office (61%).

Nearly all (84%) of respondents say they are more productive working from home, and 92% say the boss is more interested in having workers return to the office than the workers themselves.

Of those who say employers are mandating a return-to-office, the largest percentage (38%) say they will be required to be in-office three days per week. Nearly half (42%) say the best part about going back will be socializing with colleagues.

“What we’re finding is that while employers are increasingly requiring workers to return to the office, they are offering flexibility in not mandating being in the office full time,” said Korn Ferry Associate Client Partner Dr. Flo Falayi. “There are some positive aspects to being face-to-face, and if employees are given the trust to operate in a hybrid environment, they will thrive.”

About the survey: The Korn Ferry survey of professionals took place in late March 2023.

What kind of impact does returning to the office have on your mental health?

A negative impact                                                                                           58%                

A positive impact                                                                                            42%


Is your employer mandating a return to the office?

Yes                                                                                                                  62%

No                                                                                                                   38%


If your employer is mandating a return to the office, how many days a week will you be required to return?

5 days/week                                                                                                    14%

4 days/week                                                                                                      6%

3 days/week                                                                                                    38%

2 days/week                                                                                                    29%

1 day/week                                                                                                      13%



If you had a choice between two jobs (with all other variables being equal) which one would you choose?

A job with a higher salary but no flexibility to work from home                      28%

A job with a lower salary but flexibility to work from home                            72%



If you would prefer to not go back to the office, what is the top reason?
Ongoing health concerns about being in public spaces                                5%

I get more done at home                                                                                34%

The hassle of getting ready and commuting to the office                              61%



What is the top benefit to returning to the office?

Better collaboration and creativity                                                                  31%

Ability to mentor others/be mentored                                                               6%

Socializing with colleagues                                                                             42%

Change of scenery – getting tired of being in my house all the time             21%


Are you more productive working from home or the office?

Home                                                                                                              84%

Office                                                                                                               16%


Who is more interested in having teams return to the office?

The boss                                                                                                         92%

Team members                                                                                               8%


About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

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