May 14, 2024 - News

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wants federal workers to return to the office

Illustration of a person's hands on a keyboard full of return keys.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is ready to bring federal employees back to the office for the majority of their shifts.

State of play: Romney and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) recently introduced the "Back to Work Act of 2024," which would mandate federal workers to be in the office at least 60% of the time.

Why it matters: It could impact more than 40,000 employees in Utah, according to estimates from Trading Economics, which cited U.S. Federal Reserve data.

What they're saying: In a statement, Romney said empty office buildings are "wasting millions of taxpayer dollars every day."

  • "Federal employees play an important role in ensuring that the government works for the American people, and it is past time for them to get back into the office to do the work that our constituents expect from their government," he said.
  • Manchin in a statement said the measure would help society reach "pre-pandemic normalcy."

Context: The pandemic forced many industries to adopt remote work to comply with state mandates and health guidelines.

Yes, but: Executives have grappled with finding a balance between allowing remote work and requiring office time.

  • Six out of 158 U.S. CEOs said they planned to prioritize bringing workers back to the office full-time in 2024, according to a Conference Board survey conducted last October and November, Axios Markets' Emily Peck reported.
  • Just over a quarter of U.S. CEOs said they would maintain a hybrid model.
  • Some workers have lauded telework for providing flexibility and making it easier to maintain a work-life balance.

Between the lines: Workers prefer a hybrid model over going fully remote but other research has found that remote workers are 10% to 20% less productive.

You tell us: Has your employer required you to return to the office? Let us know how that's going and what you prefer by sending us an email at [email protected].

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