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“We want you back to the office!” These are the dreaded four words employees have been hearing lately. It’s difficult to pick up the paper or look at your news feed without reading about another Fortune 5000 company requiring employees to return back to the office. Apple, Disney, Google, Salesforce, Starbucks, Uber… and the list keeps growing. Resume Builder found that of the 1,000 big companies surveyed that currently allow remote work, 73% said they will “definitely” or “likely” change their work location policy six months from now. Many CEOs cite that in-person collaboration outweighs the benefits of remote or hybrid work. The problem? Most job seekers disagree.

  • A survey from Monster found that 40% of workers would quit if they had to come into the office even one day a week.
  • Linkedin’s Economic Analysis found that the number of people who want to work remotely is increasing while the number of virtual job postings is rapidly declining.
  • Virtual job listings fell to 14% on LinkedIn in October, yet these jobs accounted for over 50% of all applications.

Remote Work Benefits

While pandemic-induced shutdowns forced employers to implement remote schedules, employees quickly realized that technology, for the most part, was already in place to allow them to be just as, if not more, effective and productive than being in an office every day. In fact, a Stanford University study of 16,000 workers over nine months found that working from home increased productivity by 13%.

Companies have also discovered that remote workers tend to work longer hours due to the time savings realized by a lack of commute. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Telecommuters log five to seven more hours per week than non-telecommuters, often working even when they’re sick or on vacation.” As a result, many employees are scratching their heads as management begins to call them back to the office in a post-Covid world. This leads to an obvious disconnect between what employers and job seekers ultimately want in a work schedule.

Employee Flexibility Offers Great Opportunity

The good news for small-mid businesses? This challenge brings a great opportunity for organizations willing to give their employees some flexibility, and the timing for bringing on exceptional talent has never been better. For the last 13 years, our team at FlexProfessionals has been helping small-mid businesses differentiate themselves in the war for top talent by offering something their competitors, especially big companies, do not. That offering has historically been flexibility, with a particular focus on part-time roles to attract those A+ candidates that need part-time hours in order to return to or remain in the workforce. We’ve seen businesses on limited budgets be able to attract the very best talent this way, leading to increased growth and greater employee loyalty and satisfaction.

A Strategy to Attract High-Value Workers

As F1000 companies begin calling back their workers into the office, smaller businesses should take advantage of worker discontent and use remote and hybrid work schedules as a strategy to attract and retain high-value workers. It’s one thing for an employer to not offer a certain benefit, to begin with, but taking away a benefit from employees typically does not end well. Compounding the issue is the reality that the ‘benefit’ of flexible and remote or hybrid work is no longer seen as a ‘perk’ but as a requirement by many job seekers. This means there are going to be some great candidates available to hire as this “back-to-the-office” trend continues among large businesses.

As the disconnect between what large employers and millions of workers want in terms of remote or hybrid work continues to grow, small-mid sized companies that embrace the remote or hybrid (max of two days on-site) work model will be able to use this benefit to lure top talent who are seeking new opportunities and who value a remote or hybrid schedule.

Ellen Grealish is one of the co-founders of FlexProfessionals, LLC, a niche staffing company that specializes in sourcing experienced professionals for part-time and flexible work. Contact: