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  • A survey of over 1,000 managers and executives found 52% want employees to return to the office.
  • One third of managers think employees are more motivated if they’re being watched in the office.
  • Over 60% of employees surveyed said they would come into the office if they got a salary increase.

A third of managers and executives polled in a new survey want employees to return to the office full time because they think employees are more motivated when they know management is watching them.

Twenty-four percent said they wanted employees working in the office full time because they are less likely to take long breaks.

The nationwide Return to Office survey, conducted by freelance marketplace Fiverr in partnership with Censuswide, surveyed over 1,000 managers and executives at medium and large businesses.

The findings highlight some of the motivations of employers looking to transition back to in-office work at a time when many workers are speaking out in favor of continued flexibility for remote work.

Around 52% of survey respondents said they wanted employees to return to the office five days a week. A little over 12% of managers and executives said they are flexible with letting employees work remotely. 

A majority of respondents, almost 42%, said they wanted employees to return to the office full time because access and communication with company infrastructure is easier. Around 41% of respondents said working in the office full time is better for development and career progression. 

A majority of the managers and executives surveyed who are flexible with remote work, around 48%, said they allow it so employees can spend more time with family. Forty-five percent of flexible managers and executives said remote work makes workers more productive.

While 33.3% of managers and executives said they wanted employees to work full time in the office because they think it motivates them more if they know they’re being watched, 29% of managers and executives who allow remote work said employees can concentrate on their tasks better when working from home. Over 21% said employees don’t want to feel monitored by their bosses and colleagues.

“High performing American workers don’t want to be watched by a manager at all times,” said Shany Malbin, a general manager at Fiverr, a business built around freelancers. “They do not want to be timed when they are taking a break. It is attitudes like this that are fueling the growth in the number of highly skilled workers turning to freelancing as a full time career.”

In another Fiverr survey of over 1,000 employees, 61.24% said they would consider coming back to the office if they got a salary increase. Around 39% of employees said free lunches or meals would be compelling enough to give up remote work to return to the office. 

Almost 21% of employees in the survey said no incentives could get them to return to the office, and almost 42% said they would quit their job if their company stopped allowing remote work.

In a statement shared with Insider, Malbin said the data shows “there is still a tug of war between employees and their managers.”

“This is all contributing to the growing sector of the country’s workforce choosing independent work,” Malbin said. “These highly skilled employees no longer want to be told by a boss or manager how and when and where they should work. They are choosing a freelance lifestyle in order to have that flexibility and autonomy.”



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