The big question for the year is: What will the corporate culture look like in 2023? It’s been three years since the pandemic brought about the largest societal change America has seen since the end of World War II – working from home. Is this revolution permanent? Is remote work here to stay? Or will people head back to the office this year?

The concept of remote work has stirred quite the debate among executives and job seekers. And which side of the debate you fall on tends to align with your age and generation. For example, Baby Boomers and Generation X think it’s bogus – they tend to believe everyone needs to be back in the office. On the other hand, Millennials and Gen Z have a preference for it. They claim they are more productive at home and the flexibility has improved their work-life balance. What’s better than working while on a ski-trip with friends in Colorado and making sales calls from the chair lift? Or taking an hour-long break to go for a mid-morning swim in Miami beach? 

Let’s talk numbers. 58% of Americans say they work remotely at least one day per week – that’s the equivalent of 92 million people. 35% of workers report having the option to work from home five days a week. 74% of surveyed CFOs plan to keep part of their workforce permanently remote. 16% of U.S. companies are fully remote, and remote jobs now make up 15% of work opportunities in the US. According to Forbes, 25% of all professional jobs in North America transitioned to remote work in 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. 

The big question that remains at the center of the debate is: is remote work effective? Or do people prefer it because they can sit in their pajamas all day, have Netflix shows running in the background, and take extended breaks while remaining “active” on their laptops? A number of large research firms have explored this – here are their conclusions: People who work from home are an average of 35-40% more productive than their office counterparts, and have measured an output increase of at least 4.4%. Remote workers also cite better mental health due to a healthier work-life balance, more time for physical activity, and the ability to eat healthier and save money from office lunch breaks. 

While yes, there are benefits to remote work, there are also drawbacks. For one, there are a number of distractions at home that do not exist in an office setting. It can also be very isolating as employees may not have the same level of social interaction with their coworkers as they would in an office setting. Additionally, some remote workers cite difficulty  “clocking out” at the end of the workday leading to an unhealthy work-life balance.

Because of the balance of both pros and cons, it makes sense that many companies have decided to adopt a hybrid model where employees have flexibility. Employees can come into the office a few days per week, but the company can lease smaller office space, and an in-person camaraderie and culture is still created and maintained.  Stay tuned next week as we discuss further!