Is this the end of hybrid working……probably not, but flexibility is moving towards being a benefit rather than a non-negotiable.
Interesting article from Forbes looking at the rallying cry to get back in to the office in person. While it’s more focused on US markets we are certainly seeing a similar push in the UK. The US department of labor has seen the percentage of firms reporting little to no remote work back to within 6% of pre pandemic levels at 72.5% in 2022. Exciting times I’m sure for those who entered the work force during covid and have never felt the joys of commuting every day, especially as the tube begins its annual transformation into one giant sauna.
Recent figures from elite business revealed, out of 2,500 UK office workers surveyed 37% are now being mandated to work in the office full-time and with 52% of respondents open to looking for new roles it’s crucial to get return to office plans right. Are the companies that have chosen to move early, like Goldman Sachs and Netflix, going to see this strategy pay off or result in disenfranchised staff. Given there’s only 2-3% difference in Goldman Sachs personnel open to work on LinkedIn versus their main competitors it doesn’t seem to be hitting too hard, recent layoffs obviously having an impact as well. Ripping the plaster off early could pay dividends as people do adapt quickly and once your life is set up for five days back in the office, child and or pet care arranged, is it truly that bad? Over 35% of UK workers think it is as LinkedIn found they would leave their current role if told to return to the office full time with 52% considering leaving their roles if flexibility decreased.
From the business side it all boils down to efficiency and senior leaders setting an example. It’s hard to argue with the idea that Fridays and Mondays suffer from weekend proximity. The “Quiet weekends” trend seems to be a particular bugbear for firms where staff try to frontload work into a 4 day week being seen as work lost rather than praised for effectively managing workloads. Obviously not everyone is bought in to this negative outlook - Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford studying hybrid set ups has found that productivity generally improves with around a 3-4% increase trending across data sets.
Over the next few years we will see if lack of trust and a yearning for the traditional trumps innovation and development of personalised plans. What’s more important to you in a role? Is it trust and flexibility or the day-to-day work and your own development? We’re aways happy to discuss these areas with consultants, from first year analysts through to partner level. We can help you find the right fit.
- Davey Peyton