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.
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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, and to read our full analysis, download the pdf here.
To find out more about Totum research, contact Sarah at [email protected]