As U.S. business leaders continue to play tug-of-war with their employees over workplace arrangements, managers in other areas of the world have already won this round.
According to a new survey from CBRE, 38% of companies in Asia-Pacific expect workers to be in the office most of the time compared to 5% of U.S. office occupants.
“Compared to the U.S., it’s pretty much back to the office from Japan all the way down to Australia,” said Henry Chin, head of Asia-Pacific research at CBRE.
However, this discrepancy is not due to workers in Asia preferring in-person work. Rather, 80% of workers in Hong Kong want some form of flexibility.
But the region’s strict Covid lockdown strategy has taken a toll on workers living in smaller apartments. For these professionals, being in the office offers a place of solace after months of isolation at home.
Commuting levels in Singapore are 14% lower than pre-pandemic levels, while Hong Kong has seen a full recovery to its January 2020 numbers. In comparison, commuting levels in London and Manhattan are still 35% and 45% below pre-pandemic levels, respectively.
“U.S. employers have gradually and increasingly warmed to remote work over the past 18 months… and many employers [and workers] became more effective in handling remote work as they accumulated experience doing so,” said Steven Davis, cofounder of Working From Home Research.