The State of In-Person/Hybrid/Remote Work, Part 2

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The State of In-Person/Hybrid/Remote Work, Part 2

  • Posted by: Elizabeth

Following the interest in part 1 of our State of In-Person/Hybrid/Remote Work survey, we designed part 2. We found some interesting trends in part 1, and part 2 did not disappoint. 

This time around, we wanted to hear about who has updated or plans to update to their in-person office policy in 2024. We’ve filtered those results by those who said they were in an HR or supervisory role and those who were not. We’re separating results this way in the hopes that those in HR or a supervisory role would have the most insight into planned changes to policy, but we’ll never count out office gossip or the perception of why an update was made to company policy. 

Understandably, those who didn’t have a supervisory or HR role at their company were the most likely to report not knowing if an update to the company in-office policy is planned. The chart below only reflects the responses of those who reported being in an HR or supervisory position. Overwhelmingly, the response was that there were no plans to revise work policies in 2024, which was unexpected given the articles circulating this year on nationwide return-to-office mandates.

At this point, changes in office policy are less about Covid-19 concerns and are now more reflective of a company’s stance on hybrid/remote work. In 2023, we saw a lot more shifts in office policy than are expected for this year. The chart below reflects all survey responses. 

It has been documented that workers find ways around workplace policies and the policies aren’t always accurate to actual expectations. Of those who had a change in policy in 2023, 72% reported that the new policy was followed. The chart below reflects all responses to this question. Given the hardline approaches companies like IBM and Google are taking, it will be interesting to see if the number of employees daring to resist return to office policies continues to rise in the future. 

When we talk about reasons for updates to a company’s in-office policy, there are four that come up the most often: employee happiness, real estate costs, talent attraction and retention, and leadership influence. The chart below reflects the responses of those who reported being in an HR or supervisory role. Aside from talent attraction and retention coming in pretty solidly in third, the lack of clear cut winners for an individual rank was thought-provoking. The weighted averages are all close enough to make it difficult to pull any meaningful ‘most important’ or ‘least important’ factor. If anything, the lack of a defining factor points to the fact that those four really are the balancing point that these decisions hinge on. Given the strongly worded messaging from CEOs, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see their influence ranked much higher than it seems to have been.

It’s interesting to see how the rankings differ between who would likely be aware of what the actual importance was of each factor versus what the perception of the average employee was. The chart below reflects only the rankings of those who are not in an HR or supervisory role. 1-3 have clear winners, and employee happiness doesn’t have a distinct rank, which is particularly interesting. If employees were happy with the change or the messaging around the reason for the shift was pitched as having to do with employee happiness, we’d expect to see it ranked higher. 

We’ve seen a lot of conflicting news about a rumored push for a return to office this year. While our survey results have leaned more toward that not being as much of a reality in our community, we’re eager to see how the year unfolds and if there are any unexpected changes on the horizon.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our state of work surveys! Look out for our upcoming surveys by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on LinkedIn.