New data shows that only 26% of US households have someone working from home, as business owners continue their crusade against remote work.
The return-to-office movement has been gaining momentum over the last few months, with a wide range of business owners establishing policies that have left employees in the lurch. Some have even had to sell houses at a loss because of rushed plans that don't take employee wellbeing into consideration.
So why exactly are businesses owners so dead set on getting back to the office?
Remote Work Continues to Drop Amidst Return-to-Office Movement
The Household Pulse Survey from the US Census Bureau found that only 26% of US households have at least one person working from home at least once per week.
This number is one of the lowest in the pandemic-era, down from a high of 37% in early 2021.
The decline in remote work is unfortunate but hardly surprising, as business owners have made a concentrated effort rid the world of flexible work conditions. In fact, a ZipRecruiter study found that 43% of businesses have limited remote or hybrid work in some capacity in the last year.
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Why CEOs Are Pushing Return-to-Office Policies
Speculation has run rampant when it comes to the actual purpose behind return-to-office policies. Some believe that collaboration and company culture, while others point to investments in commercial real estate as a driver for heading back into the office.
Still, some experts note that it's nothing more than wanting to keep an eye on employees a little more closely than remote work allows:
“It’s an incredibly challenging, frustrating, and disorienting time for employers when the tool they relied on most, observing employees in-person, is gone.” – Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter to CNBC Make It.
In 2023, this is a borderline laughable excuse for getting rid of remote work. The popular employee perk allows for more work-life balance, allowing workers to more flexibility in everyday life to handle things like childcare and errands, and losing it because your boss needs to actually look at you while you work is simply unacceptable.
On top of that, project management software and other digital business resources are designed to track productivity far more effectively than the naked eye of a passing manager.
Is Remote Work Bad for Business?
With more and more companies announcing return-to-office policies, there must be a lot of data out there showing remote work is bad for business, right? Well actually, the opposite appears to be true, with many work from home productivity statistics showing that remote work can boost productivity and increase revenue.
In fact, a recent study found that businesses offering remote and hybrid work positions are growing at nearly three times the rate of those requiring in-office schedules.
Need even more excuses to stick with remote work? On top of the benefits for your business and your employees, working from home also helps the environment, with flexible working conditions reducing the carbon footprint of businesses that participate.
Suffice to say, return-to-office policies without proper research and reason are bound to backfire on your business, so make sure you know what you're doing before making a decision.