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10 Returning to the Office Statistics Every Business Owner Should Know
Updated · Jul 26, 2023
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Beyond locking people in their homes for almost three years, the COVID-19 pandemic also changed how people perceived work settings. Once thought of just as a few weeks of working in our pajamas, remote work became the status quo.
However, when big corporate bosses started to mandate employees to return to their offices, many people voiced their unwillingness to return. For many employees post-COVID, flexibility is no longer just a plus, it has become a necessity.
Only now, many employees make remote or hybrid work a non-negotiable when they start their new jobs. To know more about return-to-office updates, read the following figures.
How Many Workers Are Going Back to the Office?
In 2022, 34% of employees in the United States returned to office full-time. Companies tried to bring employees back into the office to drive higher organizational performance.
Expectedly many employees met RTO mandates with fierce resistance and criticism, driving Big Tech companies like Apple to loosen their RTO policies in favor of employee demands.
After all, only 56% of employees feel comfortable returning to the office, worrying that it may affect their work-life balance.
With the power struggle between employers and employees swinging wildly back and forth, it’s hard to gauge how office work will look in the coming years. Let’s dive into some stats to know more!
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Balancing your business needs and employee well-being while making optimal decisions can feel overwhelming. However, you can alleviate decision fatigue by harnessing the power of big data. Explore our helpful articles to gain valuable insights on how to achieve this balance effectively:
General Back-To-Office Statistics
Although companies require employees to return to the office, 48% of workers want a remote position for their next employment. Many employees realized that they could:
- save more money and stress by not commuting to the office
- spend more quality time with their families and friends
- have more freedom to work anywhere they want
They also realized that they could do roughly the same things at home, just as productive as in an office.
In fact, 51% of workers feel more productive at home. More surprisingly, 59% of employees reported increased productivity in their homes, compared to 34% when working in their offices.
Below are the general back-to-office statistics you need to know to navigate this modern work setting.
1. Less than half the workers prefer on-site only 40-60% of the time.
38% of workers admit they favor working on-site 40-60% of the time. That’s less than half the workforce wanting to work face-to-face. In contrast, only 8% like to spend 80-100% of their time on-site. Indeed, there is an increased preference of workers towards working from home.
Many have attributed companies’ intentions to return to the office as attempts to address the decline of commercial real estate assets. Dubbed the “Real Estate Office Apocalypse,” the lesser need for office spaces has led to a $500 billion value destruction of commercial real estate nationwide.
🎉 Fun Fact:
Commercial real estate isn’t just the industry suffering from post-pandemic mindset changes by individuals and companies alike. The overall US real estate market also saw a 5.2% decrease in residential real estate sales.
Foreclosures also skyrocketed by 72% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
2. Around 50% of Americans are in a hybrid work setup.
Americans aren’t new to a work-from-home setting. Over 20% of Americans are doing it in 2019, and in 2023, 30% are working remotely. In addition, 20% work on-site, while 50% are in a hybrid setup.
A hybrid work system also minimizes quitting rates by 35%. This work setup allows employees to spend more time with families and collaborate in person with their workmates.
3. 94% of HR leaders found that staff were equally productive while working remotely.
In a survey done by Mercer, it was found that 94% of workers were more, if not equally, productive while working at home rather than going to the office. The lack of commute and time flexibility increases employees' productivity.
4. Closeness to co-workers affect the feedback employees receive by 23%.
(The New York Times)
A study of software engineers at a Fortune 500 company found that those sitting near co-workers received 23% more feedback on their computer code than those with distant colleagues.
However, when office closures rose due to COVID, the advantage shrank by 17%. Researchers suggest sitting near coworkers helps junior engineers learn more from their senior coworkers, both in-person and online.
Women are also less likely to quit their jobs if they are closer to their peers. Unfortunately, there’s also a trade-off. Senior engineers were found to be producing less output when they sat near each other.
Statistics on Companies Returning to the Office
As COVID-19 restriction eases, many companies require employees to return to the office (RTO). In a survey, 66% of employers need their employees to work on-site. Leaders believe that productivity increases when people work together and have in-person collaboration.
Learn more about companies’ stand regarding the RTO policy with the following statistics.
5. 73% of remote companies say they will return to the office.
In a survey done by Resume Builder, 73% of business leaders say they will change their work-from-home policy in 2023. With this, 9 out of 10 companies are expected to return to the office.
Aside from that, companies that already do on-site work will ask employees to come in regularly for the next 6 months.
6. 5% of corporate leaders admit an expansion of hybrid work policies.
Big companies are recalculating the movement of bringing employees back to the office. 5% of these companies said they are expanding their hybrid work policies.
For example, Elon Musk required Twitter’s staff to return to the office like other companies. However, he embraced working remotely by closing its Seattle and Singapore Twitter headquarters. All teams are now working remotely.
Statistics on Employee Opinions About Going Back to Offices
Although the recent imposition of an on-site work policy, only 4% of companies successfully made their entire workforce return to the office. Most of the employees considered work-from-home setups more beneficial.
The following statistics will help you learn about employees’ opinions about the RTO policy.
7. 21% of companies will lay off workers who refuse to return to the office.
Companies use different ways of convincing workers to get back to the office. 88% of employers use incentives to encourage workers. The most favored incentives offered by companies are:
- free meals (41%)
- transportation benefits (35%)
- salary raises (34%)
However, 21% say they will fire workers who do not comply with the RTO policy. Unfortunately, this may not be the best practice for employers. Losing talent isn’t only hard. Hiring new employees is expensive. In fact, US employees shell out $1.1 billion yearly to replace workers.
8. 75% of government employees prefer a work-from-home setup.
As the Canadian Federal Government announced a back-to-office policy, almost 14,000 public service workers prefer working from home.
The government ordered workers to do on-site work up to three days per week, and according to Mark Brière, it is irrelevant for most workers to return to the office.
9. 40% of workers think their productivity is increased by working remotely.
This increase in productivity is attributed to factors like decreased stress levels and better work-life integration. Workers had more time with their families, reduced expenses, and better time flexibility for their other priorities.
10. In 2021, a quarter of employees want to work on-site five days a week.
(World Economic Forum)
In a 2021 survey, a quarter of workers wanted to work in the office for five days a week once the pandemic ended. The most substantial support for on-site work setup comes from Mexico, with 40%, followed by South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Peru.
On the other hand, global workers who prefer flexible schedule prefers:
- China & Belgium: average of 2.5 days a week
- France: 1.9 days a week
- India: 3.4 days a week
In many ways, flexible or hybrid schedules balance the demands of employers and employees. They improve work-life balance, efficiency, and control over work hours.
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The pandemic revolutionized how companies do their businesses. From its operation down to its work schedule, it is evident how working from home has become more convenient for employees throughout the years.
Three years into the pandemic, workers have slowly discovered how productivity can be achieved even remotely.
However, remote work is not for every business model. There are still businesses that require face-to-face interaction. Hopefully, these statistics have helped you see where the world is heading three to five years from now.
What percentage of people are back in the office?
50.4% of the world’s working population has returned to regular office work.
Have most companies returned to the office?
In 2022, 31% of companies have returned to the office. This is an increase from 13% in 2021.
What is the benefit of returning to the office?
Social Capital. Being on the radar of critical leaders is beneficial as this makes a person top of their minds when looking to expand their team and promote talented individuals.
Is it good to be back in the office?
Better communication. With everybody in the room, it decreases the chance of an information gap.
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