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Goodbye hybrid work: 5 signs 2023 is the year of return to office

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 8% of employees worked exclusively remote, but that jumped to 39% by early 2022, according to a survey from Gallup. But the days of rolling out of bed and making yourself presentable from the waist up could be coming to an end this year. Yes, it might be time to put on real pants. Straight Arrow News has the signs that 2023 is the year of “return to office” in this week’s Five For Friday.

#5: COVID-19-related factors

COVID-19-related social distancing and lockdown measures were the catalyst for the widespread adoption of working from home. Companies were itching to get employees back in the office by the start of 2022, but surges in cases due to the delta and omicron variants upended those plans. Cases have leveled off for the most part, according to CDC data, making it more likely that no virus will stand in the way of a return to office.

#4: Some workers want to return

More than half of remote-capable workers prefer a hybrid work environment, nearly double those who prefer being fully remote, according to Gallup. But when it comes to returning to the office everyday, only 6% are willing to give up all that flexibility. With business leaders overwhelmingly believing in the benefit of in-person work, the opinion of the 6% may get more weight than the rest.

#3: Commercial real estate

Business is all about the bottom line and office space can be really expensive. The technology hub of San Francisco is a perfect example. Office space in the Bay Area averages $75.86 per square foot. That’s nearly twice the national average of $38.19 per square foot. Wasting all that money on a premium location isn’t sitting well with shareholders and those in the C-suite. Kastle has been tracking a steady increase in employees returning to the office over the last year, a sign of what is to come.

#2: Follow the big guys

Business leaders believe workers are more productive in the office. In fact, 96% say there are more benefits to in-person work, according to a survey from Resume Builder. But there’s a big disconnect between leadership and employees, the latter claiming to be 29% more productive with a flexible work environment. Major firms like Apple, Disney and Starbucks have already mandated return to office in some capacity, so smaller companies will likely follow suit.

#1: The job market

Workers experienced a brief moment of power following the pandemic shock. The U.S. hit a record 11.5 million job openings in March of 2022, which made employees a sought-after commodity. Employers fought to attract good talent by offering higher wages and perks like flexible working conditions. But pay increases are slowing and concerns of a global recession could tip the scales back in the favor of the boss. They’re already flexing that muscle, with 21% saying they are willing to fire employees who refuse to return to office, according to Resume Builder.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO:

YOU ROLL OUT OF BED, POUR A CUP OF COFFEE AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE PRESENTABLE FROM THE WAIST UP. THIS IS THE LIFE OF WORK FROM HOME. BUT IS 2023 THE YEAR OF “RETURN TO OFFICE?” HERE ARE THE SIGNS IN THIS WEEK’S FIVE FOR FRIDAY.

WE ALL KNOW COVID WAS THE CATALYST FOR WIDESPREAD WORK FROM HOME, BUT COMPANIES WERE ITCHING TO GET BACK TO THE OFFICE BY 2022. DELTA AND OMICRON VARIANTS UPENDED THOSE PLANS. BUT NOW CASES HAVE LEVELED OFF FOR THE MOST PART, KNOCK ON WOOD, AND IT’S “TAKE 2” FOR 2023.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, 60 PERCENT OF REMOTE-CAPABLE WORKERS PREFER A HYBRID WORK ENVIRONMENT, ACCORDING TO A GALLUP POLL. THAT’S NEARLY DOUBLE THOSE WHO PREFER BEING FULLY REMOTE. BUT FIVE DAYS A WEEK? ONLY 6 PERCENT SAY THEY WANT TO BE ON-SITE FULL TIME. HINT: IT’S THE SAME PERSON WHO VOLUNTEERS TO COME INTO THE OFFICE ON A SUNDAY.

BUSINESS IS ABOUT THE BOTTOM LINE AND OFFICE SPACE COSTS A TON. ESPECIALLY IN THE TECH HUB OF SAN FRANCISCO WHERE IT’S MORE THAN $75 BUCKS A SQUARE FOOT, NEARLY DOUBLE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. COMPANIES CAN’T BE WASTING ALL THAT MONEY ON PREMIUM SPACE. KASTLE’S BEEN TRACKING A STEADY INCREASE OF FOLKS REPORTING TO THE OFFICE, A SIGN OF WHAT’S TO COME.

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY, IF AN EMPLOYEE NEVER GOES TO THE OFFICE, DID THEY EVER REALLY WORK THERE? THAT’S KIND OF HOW 96 PERCENT OF BUSINESS LEADERS SURVEYED BY RESUME BUILDER FEEL, BELIEVING THERE ARE MORE BENEFITS TO IN-PERSON WORK. EVEN THOUGH EMPLOYEES WITH FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES CLAIM TO BE 29 PERCENT MORE PRODUCTIVE. MAJOR FIRMS LIKE APPLE, DISNEY AND STARBUCKS HAVE ALREADY MANDATED RETURN TO OFFICE IN SOME CAPACITY, SO YOU KNOW OTHERS WILL FOLLOW RIGHT BEHIND.

WORKERS HAD ALL THE POWER AFTER THE PANDEMIC SHOCK. BY MARCH OF 2022, THE U.S. HIT A RECORD 11.5 MILLION JOB OPENINGS. EMPLOYERS FIGHTING FOR GOOD HELP DISHED OUT HIGHER WAGES AND FLEXIBLE CONDITIONS. BUT PAY INCREASES ARE SLOWING AND CONCERNS OF A GLOBAL RECESSION COULD TIP THE SCALES OF POWER BACK TO THE EMPLOYER. 21% ALREADY SAY THEY’LL FIRE EMPLOYEES WHO REFUSE RETURN TO OFFICE.

WE’VE GOT A STANDOFF HERE BECAUSE 60% OF REMOTE WORKERS SAID THEY’D RATHER QUIT THAN COME BACK. SEEMS LIKE BOTH SIDES ARE CALLING THEIR BLUFF. I’M SIMONE DEL ROSARIO. THAT’S FIVE FOR FRIDAY. IT’S JUST BUSINESS.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 8% of employees worked exclusively remote, but that jumped to 39% by early 2022, according to a survey from Gallup. But the days of rolling out of bed and making yourself presentable from the waist up could be coming to an end this year. Yes, it might be time to put on real pants. Straight Arrow News has the signs that 2023 is the year of “return to office” in this week’s Five For Friday.

#5: COVID-19-related factors

COVID-19-related social distancing and lockdown measures were the catalyst for the widespread adoption of working from home. Companies were itching to get employees back in the office by the start of 2022, but surges in cases due to the delta and omicron variants upended those plans. Cases have leveled off for the most part, according to CDC data, making it more likely that no virus will stand in the way of a return to office.

#4: Some workers want to return

More than half of remote-capable workers prefer a hybrid work environment, nearly double those who prefer being fully remote, according to Gallup. But when it comes to returning to the office everyday, only 6% are willing to give up all that flexibility. With business leaders overwhelmingly believing in the benefit of in-person work, the opinion of the 6% may get more weight than the rest.

#3: Commercial real estate

Business is all about the bottom line and office space can be really expensive. The technology hub of San Francisco is a perfect example. Office space in the Bay Area averages $75.86 per square foot. That’s nearly twice the national average of $38.19 per square foot. Wasting all that money on a premium location isn’t sitting well with shareholders and those in the C-suite. Kastle has been tracking a steady increase in employees returning to the office over the last year, a sign of what is to come.

#2: Follow the big guys

Business leaders believe workers are more productive in the office. In fact, 96% say there are more benefits to in-person work, according to a survey from Resume Builder. But there’s a big disconnect between leadership and employees, the latter claiming to be 29% more productive with a flexible work environment. Major firms like Apple, Disney and Starbucks have already mandated return to office in some capacity, so smaller companies will likely follow suit.

#1: The job market

Workers experienced a brief moment of power following the pandemic shock. The U.S. hit a record 11.5 million job openings in March of 2022, which made employees a sought-after commodity. Employers fought to attract good talent by offering higher wages and perks like flexible working conditions. But pay increases are slowing and concerns of a global recession could tip the scales back in the favor of the boss. They’re already flexing that muscle, with 21% saying they are willing to fire employees who refuse to return to office, according to Resume Builder.

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