Return to Office Mandates are Forcing Workers to Sell Homes at a Loss

Some workers are being forced to choose between their home or their job - and losing money in the process.

After an unprecedented period of flexibility when it comes to remote working, many companies are calling workers back to their desks. As an upshot of this, some employees are being forced to move closer to the office, and losing money on their homes.

A new study has found that return to office mandates mean some workers need to choose between selling their homes or losing their jobs, with some unable to recoup the money spent on the property.

This week, IBM became the latest company to issue a return to office mandate, following the likes of Meta, Amazon and more.

Return to Office’s Impact on Property Market

New research from Redfin has revealed that return to office policies are causing around 10% of US home sellers to relocate.

In some cases, workers are losing money in the process, prioritizing selling up and moving at a loss, rather than being fired form their jobs. In one example given in the survey, a real estate agent mentions a client who currently lives in Boise, Idaho, being forced to relocate back to Seattle for three days a week for their job, and looking at losing $100,000 in the process.

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Not only are workers losing money, but moving from more remote areas to city hubs where businesses are located can also mean a step down in living conditions, with much smaller properties commanding the same or even higher prices than larger homes further afield.

Just last week, a study from Fannie Mae showed that 22% of remote workers were willing to move to find more affordable housing. It seems that’s all well and good, as long as your company keeps its word on remote work.

It’s worth noting that Redfin, which commissioned the survey, asked its own workers who lived within 20 miles to come back to to office two days a week, but didn’t insist that anyone relocate.

Companies Calling Staff Back to the Office

Many companies are insisting that staff return to the office in 2023 – even those who sang the praises of remote work during the height of the pandemic. Amazon CEO, Andy Jassey, who had previously claimed to be a remote work believer, recently told employees who were reluctant to come back that “it’s not going to work out for you.

Just last week, computing giant IBM told its staff to get back to their desks, with less than a week’s notice.

Apple, Comcast, Disney, Starbucks and numerous others have also been vocal about coming back to the office, despite the numerous studies and examples of the positive effects of remote work, such as those that work from home being happier, and possibly even living longer.

Such is some companies passion for getting people back in the office, many are even advertising roles with relocation assistance, hoping that by lightening some of the financial burden, the move back to the office is more appealing.

Plenty of Remote Roles Still Available

All this might make for grim reading for those who enjoy working remotely, but despite all the headlines about companies issuing return to office mandates, rest assured that there are still plenty of remote work opportunities.

Many companies still offer remote roles, and just this week, named companies advertising  hundreds of remote positions in September.

The remote work debate looks set to rage on, and at the end of it, you can expect a clear division between those companies that have an open remote work policy and those that don’t. Those that don’t could well find themselves with a much smaller recruiting pool as a result, with workers looking for the additional benefits and the ‘luxury’ of living in affordable housing.

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Written by:
Jack is the Deputy Editor for He has over 15 years experience in publishing, having covered both consumer and business technology extensively, including both in print and online. Jack has also led on investigations on topical tech issues, from privacy to price gouging. He has a strong background in research-based content, working with organisations globally, and has also been a member of government advisory committees on tech matters.
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