As the delta variant foils all manner of fall plans, many employers remain focused on a return to in-office work.
The majority of senior managers surveyed for Robert Half’s August 2021 report (71%) said they will require employees to be fully in-office once COVID-19 restrictions are completely lifted. (The talent solutions firm polled more than 2,800 senior managers in industries such as administration support, finances, HR, legal counsel, marketing and technology.)
Meanwhile, 16% of senior managers said they will implement a hybrid work system and 12% said they’ll leave the option up to employees.
Data from an April 2021 report suggests employer and employee desires regarding the future of work are mismatched: 49% of employee respondents said they prefer hybrid work, 26% preferred fully remote work and 25% preferred fully in-office work.
This clash of wills isn’t just a source of tension. It may be a path to attrition. In a May 2021 Bloomberg survey, 39% of respondents said they’d consider quitting if their employer wasn’t flexible about working from home. Similarly, 1 in 3 professionals told Robert Half they would look for another job if forced to return to the office.
COVID-19 has also shifted work-life balance in quite a literal way: from the boom of home offices and the ever-present caregiving struggle, to cross-regional migrations the world over.
A particularly interesting tidbit from Robert Half’s August report were the cities most receptive to hybrid work, based on the percentage of managers allowing employees to be remote part or full time. At the top of the list were Boston (45%), San Francisco (38%), Philadelphia (37%), Dallas (35%) and Pittsburgh (35%). Speaking on behalf of Robert Half, Paul McDonald, the firm’s senior executive director, said this trend is due to these five cities catching onto the benefits of hybrid work early.
“Companies in these five cities have figured out that many employees can be productive no matter where they’re sitting. And they’re recognizing the value of being an early adopter of long-term hybrid work, in the form of a more engaged and loyal workforce,” McDonald said in an email. “In a tight, candidate-driven job market, offering hybrid work can be a powerful way to recruit, retain and grow great teams.”