The Return to Office War is Finally Ending as CEOs See the Value of Hybrid and Remote Work
January 31, 2024
Return to office efforts are starting to wane. Just 6 out of 158 CEOs in the United States have indicated their intent to prioritize the return of employees to full-time office work in 2024, according to a recent survey conducted by The Conference Board.
Leaders are increasingly acknowledging the importance of offering hybrid work arrangements and blending remote work and in-office presence for attracting and retaining talent. 27% of the participating U.S. CEOs identified the maintenance of hybrid work as a key priority in 2024. In a parallel study by Deloitte involving chief financial officers, 65% expected their companies to offer hybrid work arrangements in the upcoming year.
Additional stats include:
- 20%-25% of U.S. workers engage in remote work at least part of the week, a notable increase from the pre-pandemic average of around 3%, although lower than the peak of 47% during the pandemic.
- 4% of U.S. CEOs say they will prioritize bringing workers back to the office full time. Just 1% of CHROs list this as a priority in the coming year.
- Surveyed HR leaders report that 56% of workers continue to work a hybrid or fully remote schedule, while 73% of respondents report difficulty enticing workers to return to the office.
- Strong mandates to return to on-site work may be working against attempts to retain workers, especially women.
- 27% of HR leaders say they have implemented (16%) or are considering implementing (11%) a four-day workweek, and 63% have considered (14%) or are implementing (49%) allowing teams to determine their own schedules.
Diana Scott, human capital center leader at The Conference Board, remarked that the focus for CEOs has shifted to numerous other challenges, declaring, “The battle is over.”
Brian Elliott, co-founder of Future Forum, a think tank on the future of work, states that a majority of CEOs are discreetly embracing greater flexibility, contrary to the attention-grabbing headlines about CEOs pushing for a full return to offices.
Employees prefer flexibility over being mandated to work in the office every day, particularly when the rationale behind such policies remains unclear. Instances like a bank worker being summoned to the office for multiple Zoom meetings, with minimal in-person interaction, have led to frustration – understandably so.
Here at ASE we remain mostly remote, with some employees preferring more of a hybrid arrangement. How has your organization responded to the desire for remote/hybrid work arrangements? Email me at email@example.com.
By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner, ASE.