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Expecting to Continue Working from Home? What Are Employers Expecting?

24 August, 2021
Expecting to Continue Working from Home?  What Are Employers Expecting?

In general, the positive results of remote work have completely transformed the thinking on where and how people can get stuff done.

However, remote-first won’t likely become the corporate standard moving forward. In one recent survey of executives and HR personnel, more than 50 percent of respondents said they were planning to have people return to office by the fall of 2021, with 70 percent saying they expect to progressively phase in the return to on-premises work.

A PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) survey of executives and office employees done in November and December 2020 concluded that executives and their staff members agree than more flexibility should be the norm, yet neither group seems ready to totally get away from the conventional office space.

This survey and others seem to indicate plenty of businesses are moving toward a hybrid work environment where a substantial number of office workers move in and out of offices set up for shared working. This model has the flexibility that most people want after being completely at home for months on end.

Research seems to indicate that remote working has been a massive success for both staff members and employers. The results of remote work have coincided with change in attitudes toward remote work: 83 percent of employers in the PwC survey said remote work has been successful, as opposed to 73 percent in a different PwC survey carried out in June 2020. Less than 20 percent of executives said they would like to go back to the pre-pandemic, office-only way of working, and only 13 percent of executives reported wanting to get rid of the office permanently. Meanwhile, 87 percent of workers said the office is essential for working together with colleagues and developing relationships, cited as top their needs for having an office.

The PwC survey did not indicate a consensus on the ideal balance of remote vs. on-premises. Slightly more than half of workers said they would like to be remote three days a week or more issues around COVID diminish, while 68 percent of executives said a standard employee ought to be in the workplace at least three days a week, citing a maintenance of company culture as the main reason.

That being said, companies are making moves that indicate a major shift away from office-only work. For one thing, corporate real estate portfolios are shifting. In the survey, 87 percent of executives said they plan to make adjustments to their real estate footprint over the next year. These plans include things like merging office space in premium locations and opening satellite locations. While more than half of executives said they expect to decrease office space, a majority also said 56 they expect to require more space. These mixed results demonstrate that some businesses are intending to reinvest in ways than produce a new kind of workplace.

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