- With questions about the future of the office up in the air, fewer than half of the 254 mid-market CEOs in a recent survey by Marcum LLP and Hofstra University's Frank G. Zarb School of Business said they were working in-office five days per week.
- Most respondents, 77%, provided their employees with the option to work remotely at least part of the week, and 87.5% of this contingent said they foresaw allowing employees to do so in the future. Reasons for embracing remote work included reducing COVID-19 transmission, lowering costs incurred either by office space or commuting and competing with firms that offered remote work, among others.
- CEOs who decided to continue working remotely described similar motivators, including convenience, increased productivity and reduced stress. Rising gasoline prices also have played a role, with 41.7% of CEOs stating that gas prices were contributing to employees’ reluctance to return to the office.
The findings shed light on yet another aspect of the return-to-work debate taking place within organizations in the U.S. and globally.
Going into 2022, some researchers observed a divide of sorts between employees and management. A 2021 survey by Slack’s Future Forum found 76% of workers did not want to return to the office full time, while 68% of executives wanted to work in the office all or most of the time. In March 2022, results of a Yoh survey showed 62% of workers currently working remotely said they would like to keep their arrangements rather than transition to hybrid or in-person work.
Neither side of the debate is a monolith, however. Last month, software firm Foundry published data from a survey of information technology and business decision-makers showing that most respondents viewed hybrid or remote work as a “permanent” solution for their organizations. In April, Workhuman’s Human Workplace Index survey found that 71% of employees who were required to return to the office full time agreed with their employers’ decisions.
Additionally, hybrid work, though a generally accessible concept, is likely to play out differently from organization to organization, according to speakers at the 2022 annual conference of the Society for Human Resource Management. Executive teams may consider creating a leadership position responsible for coordinating aspects of the hybrid work experience, such as a chief hybrid work officer.
Office reopenings require their own set of considerations. For example, employers may need to prepare policies and guidelines for workers exhibiting symptoms or medical conditions associated with long COVID-19. And whether an organization pursues remote, hybrid or in-person work, HR may still need to make additional preparations to ensure workers with disabilities are included.