Return to Office? Why Employees are Quitting on the Spot

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With rising inflation all around, people enjoyed ditching the commute to spend their time more efficiently. A whopping 60% would rather quit entirely than return to office for five days a week.

Some employees already have numerous remote job offers lined up before their silent departure. Others are already interviewing for new jobs during work hours.

The loud quitters? These are the people who drag their company on social media—through Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit—about their dealbreaking return to office mandate.

By contrast, Quiet Quitters took a more passive-aggressive approach before they leave, from extended lunch breaks to ignored emails.

Why Employees are Quitting on the Spot

For some, it takes many months (or years) of workplace dissatisfaction for a resignation letter draft. For others, one insensitive comment is all it takes for them to open up LinkedIn and search for new jobs during company time. There’s a larger issue overseeing both parties, and that’s a lack of honest communication and feedback.

Gallup finds that when employees are forced to work in an office when they prefer their home, burnout rises while engagement drops. That’s an ideal recipe for quiet quitting, and it’s become a corporate buzzword this year. Will 2023 look any different in terms of work structure, as the pandemic dwindles down and we approach a “new normal”?

Return to Office (or Not) Statistics

What’s the current state of the return to office (RTO) ordeal in 2022? We’ve gathered the following:

  • 2 out of 3 remote workers are willing to return to office, but on a hybrid schedule (Business Wire)
  • 73% of employees need a better reason to return to office than company expectations (Microsoft)
  • Only 13% of executives are willing to let go of working from the office completely (PWC)
  • For employees whose work can be remote, 59% work from home all/most of the time, 18% sometimes, and 22% rarely/never (Pew Research Center)
  • 76% would apply to a position outside of their current industry if it were completely remote (Rippling)
  • 35% wouldn’t consider a new job unless there’s an option for remote work (Rippling)
  • 90% of companies will require employees to return to office at least some days of the week in 2023 (Resume Builder)

The statistics show a clear trend—people have multifaceted, busy lives and prefer the flexibility to work on a remote or hybrid schedule. For some, socializing via Zoom or Slack is more than enough (introverts, looking at you all).

To Return or Not to Return

A corporate tug-of-war between the employee and employer continues. If employees return to office, they expect to be reimbursed for their commute and childcare fees (if applicable). Employers are looking to cut costs and may not empathize with this sentiment. However, they must spent time searching for a new candidate, which is a costly HR onboarding cycle on its own.

The new hire may feel burnt out from their previous role and resorts to quiet quitting. And so the vicious cycle continues. Another huge factor that leads to unsatisfactory job performance is scope creep—where employees are assigned more tasks than what was agreed on from the get-go. Some may even have to take on additional work due to managers over-delegating.

The question remains: to return or not to return?

For a majority of employers, the hybrid model is reaping the best results in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction. Some positions require more time in office, whereas others can be completed almost fully remotely. Companies have tried out several work models: anywhere from 9 to 5, anywhere at anytime, and in the office at anytime.

Final Thoughts on Returning to the Office

Introverts and extraverts have valid reasons why they prefer to work at home or in the office. Whether it’s to spend more quality time with family and pets, increase focus, or ditch the crazy commutes—a return to office mandate causes more stress than productivity. Knowing how you work best and communicating that to your employer is the key to success.

Will work ever look like the way it did pre-pandemic? Probably not. Is that a good thing? Probably, although it’ll require a fair deal of compromising from the employer and employee. As some return to the office full-time and others stay at home, one thing remains: the work itself.

How do you think the nature of work will be impacted? Where is it headed? We know that it’ll take more than just a few social media posts to shift an entire landscape of work. Instead of forcing a return to office rule, companies can consider the needs of their employees so they can do their best work.



Agrawal, B. W. and S. (2022, December 2). Returning to the office: The current, preferred and future state of remote work.

How to do hybrid right. Harvard Business Review. (2021, August 27).

Moody, K. (2022, September 30). Report: 9 in 10 companies will require return to office by 2023. HR Dive.

Two-thirds of remote workers are planning to go back to the office – but not every day, Qualtrics study shows. Business Wire. (2022, April 20).

Wade, J. (2022, November 8). Author post: Loud and quiet quitting: The new epidemic isn’t just a trend. Forbes.

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