Sweeping changes this year in the U.S. workforce have enticed most companies to now require some form of hybrid work. According to a survey published by workplace strategy firm Robin, 88% of businesses now require employees to work in the office for a certain number of days — marking a nearly 20% increase since 2022.
The survey cites growing concern among business leaders about the potential downsides of fully remote work, including issues related to collaboration, communication, and professional development.
Robin’s survey, which included over 500 U.S. business owners and facilities managers across various industries, reveals that 52% of companies require employees to be in the office four days a week. This is a major jump from the previous year and suggests a strong preference for in-person work among many employers — especially in sectors like finance and construction. However, despite stricter return to office mandates, many offices remain not fully occupied. It’s reported that only 28% of businesses are using 100% of their total available office space and 80% were revealed as having downsized since the pandemic began.
The cost of maintaining office spaces is a notable factor as well. The data reveals over 60% of companies are paying more than $50 per square foot. This financial burden, coupled with the ongoing preference for flexible work arrangements, suggests that businesses need to be more strategic in 2024 about their office space utilization and long-term needs.
While remote work is still very much a part of the professional landscape, the growing emphasis on in-office points to a balancing act between the benefits of remote flexibility and the perceived advantages of in-person collaboration and communication.