Three quarters of firms have now implemented a hybrid-working policy, with nearly half (49%) stating the policy is a permanent change, meaning that many employees are now settling into a lasting pattern of mixing home and office work each week. All respondents also now offer hybrid working to all employees (excluding facilities and reception), a steady rise from the 75% who offered hybrid to all back in March 2021. This is according to Totum’s third survey of professional service firms and their plans/policies in regard to returning to the office: ‘The great return: Getting back to the office in a hybrid world’.
Our ‘return to the office’ survey has been conducted in six-month intervals since March 2021. Each time, we have asked firms the same questions to more easily compare results and observe changing sentiments/trends. But over time we have also added a few additional questions to reflect the shifting market over the past 12 months.
Highlights of our findings
- Only 3% of respondents are still uncertain as to the future of their hybrid working policy, while the rest are either still testing an approach that is not yet settled (48%), or now have a hybrid policy that represents a permanent change (49%).
- For most firms, office occupancy is now up to an average of 26-50% a week, but only 3% of respondents claim office attendance of over 75%.
- Most firms are not yet introducing policies that discount employees’ salaries if they move to a lower-cost location, but it remains an important consideration, with firms likely to reduce salaries by around 20% for those working full-time from home on a permanent basis.
- A steady upward trend is firms redesigning their office space, up from 25% in March 2021 to 42% in March 2022.
- Productivity appears to be a big winner of hybrid working: only 3% of respondents think that productivity has declined since the beginning of Covid, while over 50% think it has improved for both lawyers and business services professionals.
There will no doubt be difficult times ahead but the pandemic gave many firms a more human face as they had to reach out and connect to employees kept apart by successive lockdowns. This survey suggests that a huge amount was learned during this tough time that firms are keen to take forwards in a meaningful way. There is a real opportunity here to make the future workplace both happier and more productive.
To find out more about Totum research, contact Sarah at [email protected]