- Seventy-one percent of U.S. employers are sticking with a hybrid work arrangement into 2023, a March survey of 515 HR professionals, C-suite executives and in-house attorneys from law firm Littler Mendelson revealed. About 16% require fully in-person work, 6% use fully remote work and 7% provide workers a choice.
- Among the majority allowing a hybrid model, however, some are becoming more strict with in-office requirements. Nearly half of those respondents said they were reducing the remote element of their hybrid model to some extent, while 39% had not changed their employees’ work schedules. Only 12% are moving in the other direction — offering more flexibility and remote-work options.
- The U.S. remains most likely to embrace hybrid work, Littler noted; nearly twice as many respondents to the firm’s European survey said their organizations required in-person work, and Littler pointed to other reports finding similar trends in Asia. “The persistently low U.S. unemployment rate and staffing shortages across several industries may still be giving American workers more leverage to push for hybrid work arrangements,” Littler suggested.
For many trend-watchers, Littler’s data is not a surprise. In the first months of the pandemic — nearly as soon as employers learned employees could effectively do their jobs remotely — HR pros and researchers specializing in the future of work began to predict that widespread hybrid and remote models were here to stay.
For many workers, flexible work arrangements rose to the top of the wish list. As employers contended with the great resignation, providing hybrid work was one way to stand out — or, in some industries, at least offer table stakes. Those that hung on to the model late into 2022, as some employers cracked down on flexibility and began to introduce more return-to-office requirements in anticipation of an economic downturn, may still be reaping recruitment rewards.
While employee enthusiasm for flexibility remains, the past few years have allowed challenges to the model to arise. A recent survey from Gartner revealed that poorly thought-out hybrid arrangements can frustrate employees, and a lack of established norms for the model may cause them to leave. Several studies, including one from the Integrated Benefits Institute, have also found a link between hybrid work and anxiety and depression.
More recently, especially as hybrid work appears to be a long-lasting trend, focus has turned to how employers can provide the benefit more effectively. Gartner’s report pointed to increasing engagement when workers are in the office, for example, by having workers share their preferences with colleagues and encouraging more on-site connection.