By Lananh Nguyen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial firms that enforce strict return-to-office mandates could drive employees to leave, according to a study published Tuesday by accounting firm Deloitte.
Of 700 financial executives surveyed by Deloitte, 66% who worked remotely part time said they would likely quit if they were ordered to return to the office five days a week.
“Professionals – men and women alike – whose work and personal lives have been reshaped by remote work largely want to maintain flexibility even if it comes at a personal cost,” Deloitte said.
Companies that insist on five days of in-office work are likely to see those policies backfire, the study showed. Firms could face resistance, higher resignation rates and difficulties recruiting talent, it added.
Across corporate America, employers are wrestling with the balance between in-person collaboration and flexibility.
Even among the large Wall Street banks, views have differed. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) have been prominent advocates of in-office working for learning, innovation and culture. By contrast, Citigroup (NYSE: C), UBS and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK) have embraced more flexibility as a way to attract and retain talent.
The Deloitte survey showed caregivers with remote or hybrid arrangements were 1.3 times more likely to leave their jobs if that flexibility was taken away.
It also warned that “the risk of losing talented women to a competitor or to another industry is real.” Poll results showed almost half of women in senior leadership roles were likely to leave their current employer over the next 12 months.