• 19% of employers require staff to be in the office five days a week
  • 28% of employers require staff to be in the office four days a week, the most popular mandate
  • 31% of employers have lost at least one employee due to mandates, while 40% anticipate resignations


Sydney, 9 August 2023 – Most Australian employers have introduced a policy this year that mandates the number of days staff must spend in the office, new independent research by specialised recruiter Robert Half finds.

At the start of the year, 59% of business leaders stated their company planned to increase the number of days that staff were required to spend in the office. Since then, 87% of Australian businesses have implemented mandatory days that staff are required to attend the office, with four days a week being the most popular mandate, cited by 28% of employers.

Staff resignations on the rise

However, employers are facing some staff resignations as 31% report having already lost at least one employee and 40% expect staff to leave due to in-office requirements.

Why employers are setting strict mandates

Employers are enforcing days in the office because of reported benefits, specifically:

  • 40% say it is better to have important meetings face to face
  • 37% say productivity is improved when employees are working in the office
  • 34% find it hard to maintain corporate culture
  • 31% say they need to make use of office space
  • 30% say it’s more difficult to manage teams virtually
  • 25% say the career progression of junior employees is limited by working from home

“Australian employer sentiments relating to working from home has shifted in the last six months. Businesses have put their foot down and allocated in-office days for their staff,” says Nicole Gorton, Director at Robert Half.

“While the benefits of bringing people back are extensive, careful consideration needs to be taken when making changes to something of utmost significance to the staff, especially if a business’s work-life harmony benefits are what got candidate through the door.

“Mandating makes people feel like they have been stripped of this choice. To manage this in a way that makes employees still feel looked after, employers could adapt a flexible approach and let staff pick which three or four days will fit their schedule the best to come into the office.”

The number of days being mandated

Multiple days a week is overwhelmingly preferred by employers who require staff in the office, with only 2% citing an appearance on one day of the week is enough. However, only about a fifth of employers (19%) are requiring staff to be at work from Monday to Friday.

5 days a week19%
4 days a week28%
3 days a week26%
2 days a week12%
1 day a week2%
Mandated office days total87%
Office days are not mandated13%

Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 business leaders including 100 CFOs, 100 CIOs, and 100 general hiring managers

“Flexibility and choice is not only valued by many professionals but is now a non-negotiable for those who relished the arrangement over the past three years. A hybrid workforce has its challenges and while employers require more people to return to the office, companies should not pull back on remote work policies altogether. When employers pay attention to both the employee and the business’ needs, embrace the options and conduct extensive planning, they can get the mix right and reap the rewards of an engaged and productive team. Otherwise, employers risk losing good staff,” concluded Gorton.

Robert Half - back to office August 2023.pdf


Notes to editors

About the research

The study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online in June 2023 by an independent research company, surveying 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the global, specialised talent solutions provider that helps employers find their next great hire and jobseekers uncover their next opportunity. Robert Half offers both contract and permanent placement services, and is the parent company of Protiviti, a global consulting firm. Robert Half Australia has offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Mount Waverley, Perth, and Sydney. More information on roberthalf.com.au.