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Apple, SpaceX, Microsoft return-to-office mandates drove senior talent away

"Taken together, our findings imply that return to office mandates can imply significant human capital costs in terms of output, productivity, innovation, and competitiveness for the companies that implement them."

There's no doubt that there's a lot of value in being in the same physical room together; I'm writing this on the day after a work summit that brought my team together from across the country, and I'm still buzzing from the energy. But I think anyone in tech that proposes a full-time return to office policy needs to rethink.

It comes down to this: "it's easier to manage a team that's happy". People want their lives and contexts to be respected; everyone's relationship with their employers has been reset over the last few years. This goes hand in hand with the resurgence of unions, too: the contract between workers and employers is being renegotiated, and particularly for parents and carers, but really for everyone, working from home yields a kind of freedom that's hard to replace. And asking people to come back reads as a lack of trust and autonomy that erodes relationships and decimates morale.


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