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New Data Shows Employers and Employees Meet in the Middle On In-Office Mandates

Flex Index data finds that both Full-Time In-Office and Full-Time Remote policies are ceding ground to Structured Hybrid, especially among companies with 50,000+ employees

Today, Scoop, the company enabling employees to plan great in-office days effortlessly, releases The Flex Report – Q2 2023. Citing data from the Flex Index* – the world’s most robust source on company in-office requirements – the Q2 report shows significant change since February’s inaugural Flex Report, covering workplace flexibility trends across more than 4,000 companies. Thousands of companies have amended or edited policies, showing a big jump in a single quarter to Structured Hybrid as the preferred workplace model.

Since the end of COVID restrictions, there has been a very public push and pull around in-office versus remote work. Since the beginning of the year, employers have moved from being Fully Flexible (companies that give employees a choice over whether they come into an office) to more structured policies – the most popular being Structured Hybrid. No stranger to controversy, JP Morgan Chase’s (NYSE: JPM) Jamie Dimon made headlines with his call to bring his leadership back 5 days a week but has settled on 3 days for employees. That compromise is in-line with trends observed in the Flex Report.

“It seems like the employers who are hellbent on being in the office full time are struggling to retain and attract talent, especially when they don’t take into consideration what their employees want,” said Rob Sadow, CEO of Scoop and creator of the Flex Index. “As employees become more vocal about their preferences, employers are increasingly leaning toward a Structured Hybrid workplace model. They’re starting to create a truce – one where both parties get some of what they want.”

Key Findings and Considerations From The Flex Q2 Report

  • Employers Take The Reins: As employers work to formalize policies, nearly 30 percent of companies have elected a Structured Hybrid model, a significant jump from 20 percent last quarter. This shift gives both employers and employees a say in where work happens.

This trend is most significant among companies with 50,000 or more employees, 66 percent of which choose Structured Hybrid, compared to just 14 percent of companies with less than 500 people. As noted by Nick Bloom, Stanford Economics Professor and co-founder of WFH Research, “Mentoring is easier in person. It is possible to mentor remotely, but it takes deliberate effort. This is one of the key reasons for hybrid. Office days for mentoring, innovation, and building culture. Home days for quiet, deep work and no commute.”

  • Tech Giants Align With Other Big Companies: While tech is still the most flexible industry overall, with 75 percent of companies offering Fully Remote or Employee’s Choice (where employees can choose when or if they work from an office), within large tech employers (over 1,000 employees), the overall share adopting Structured Hybrid grew from 28 percent to 39 percent in Q2.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT), and Meta (NASDAQ: META) all have announced plans to modify flexible work policies to bring employees back to their central campuses and satellite offices at least half the week, and in some cases more.

  • Summer Fridays Shifting Lifestyles Year-Round: Only 7 percent of employers require employees to go into the office on Friday and 24 percent require Monday attendance. With employees working from home on the bookend days of the weekend, it significantly changes the fabric of communities and individual lifestyle choices – from foot traffic to small businesses, commute traffic, travel trends, and more. Increased flexibility means people can do errands on Fridays they historically left for the weekend; or grab lunch with a friend near home instead of by the office. Travelers can extend trips, and road trip planning might prioritize Monday drives. How will these shifts change business owners’ hours of operation to accommodate changing patterns and priorities? Should restaurants rethink peak days or when to offer happy hours?

“While the most obvious implications of this data are for job seekers and employers, knowing where and how often people are going into physical offices has far-reaching impacts on the design of our cities and neighborhoods,” continued Sadow. “From where people live, to how fewer commute days reduce emissions, to the ways we think about land use and real estate and more, shifting in-office policies will shift the weave of society’s fabric.”

  • Cities and States Diverge; Industries Show Distinct Inclinations: While some of the most flexible cities stayed constant (Portland, OR; Boulder, CO; and Austin, TX stay strong as top three), there are moves both in the top ten most flexible cities and among those requiring most on-site work. For that geographic detail, trends across industries, and more, check the full report here or send questions to scoop_key@thekeypr.com.

*Launched in February, the Flex Index provides insights from over 4,000 companies and 30,000 office locations that collectively employ more than 100 million people. With insight into company-by-company trends across numerous axes — including location, size, industry, and more — now anyone can uncover companies’ workplace flexibility policies in a single, comprehensive place. You can contribute to the breadth and quality of the Flex Index by adding your company information here.

Methodology

The Flex Index collects firmographic and office requirements information on more than 4,000 companies. These companies collectively have more than 30,000 office locations and employ more than 100 million people.
Company office requirements are generated through a combination of online survey and manual entry of publicly available information. All surveys must be submitted by an employee of the company with an accompanying work email address to verify their employment. All surveys contributing to this Flex Report were conducted between October 2022 and April 2023. Once a company is incorporated into the Flex Index, company representatives are contacted to inform them of their inclusion. Companies can add or update their information on the Flex Index at any time.

Company office requirements reflect the most common office requirements for corporate employees. Companies can add detail to their company page to reflect job functions, roles, or geographies where there are different office requirements from the corporate policy. This includes opportunities for fully remote work, roles that are required to be full time in office, or other hybrid work arrangements.

Our partner People Data Labs provides the data on top employment locations for each company on the Flex Index. This data is used to inform state and metro flexibility analysis.