The U.S. Labor Day holiday, or the first Monday in September, has long been seen as the imaginary line in the sand for when employers would require employees to return to the office—and brands like Apple, Prudential Financial, and BMO Financial all plan a return to office-based work this month.
But if you’re contemplating an entirely in-person work environment, you clearly haven’t been paying attention to what your employees want.
Data from recent months reinforces that employees demand workplace flexibility, and employers that mandate a full return to the office could destroy their workforce morale, likely causing a wave of departures in search of remote- and hybrid-friendly cultures.
Let’s look at data from the past few months to understand what employees want in terms of workplace flexibility and where employers may be misguided in their future of work strategies.
The Current State of Remote and Hybrid Work — Summer 2022
The majority of U.S. employers currently offer remote or hybrid work settings, in part given rising COVID infections from new variants. Here is the most recent data available:
- The majority of U.S. workers have hybrid work flexibility, with 35% being able to work from home full-time, and 23% working from home part-time—that reflects 92 million people (McKinsey).
- When employers offer some degree of remote work, 87% of employees work remotely at least one day a week, meaning just 13% reject the flexibility. The majority (58%) work from home at least three days a week (McKinsey). This data is supported by the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes (SWAA).
When looking to the future, 31.7% of U.S. employees want to work from home five days per week, and 16% want full-time office work. However, 27% of employers plan to not offer workplace flexibility post-COVID, and 22% plan to offer just one or two days per week to work from home (SWAA).
This disconnect will continue to fuel the ‘Great Resignation’ and newly discussed trend of ‘quiet quitting,’ in which workers meet bare-minimum productivity levels. A Gallup poll found that at least 50% of U.S. workers are quiet quitters, which is caused by employers failing to provide clear job expectations and learning and growth opportunities for their team, as well as failing to prove they care about their employees.
How To Future-Proof Your Workplace Culture
As shown by recent work-from-home data, most employees want at least a 50/50 split between time spent working from home and working from an office. Employers that fail to meet their employee needs will face waves of turbulence, including decreased employee satisfaction and productivity, and increased turnover.
So what is the best way to plan for the future of work? Ask your employees.
It is vital to actively poll your team and understand what level of flexibility they need from their work arrangement. Managers play a key role in facilitating these conversations and reducing their team’s disengagement and burnout.
Forcing everyone to return to the office is a radical shift from the freedom that employees have now come to accept, but you can find a middle ground that makes everyone happy—but it will also require you to redefine how you measure success.
Building Connections in Remote Work
When looking at the commonly cited benefits of in-person work, employees value face-to-face collaboration and socializing the most. Both of these concerns can be addressed in a remote-work world—but a combination of Slack channels and Zoom rooms will hardly help your employees thrive.
We’ve built Frameable Spaces to give your hybrid and remote teams the same collaborative work experience the most productive in-office teams enjoy, enabling them to meet and collaborate in a natural and fully integrated way. Learn more about how Frameable Spaces is an ideal remote and hybrid work platform and book a demo today.