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January 16, 2024

Return to Office Trends: The Rise of Hybrid Work Models

The landscape of work has undergone a seismic shift over the past few years, with remote work becoming an essential part of the professional experience. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to understand the evolving dynamics of the return-to-office (RTO) trends. Let’s delve into the four key insights shaping the future of work.

1. The Dominance of Remote Work Options

Since 2019, the canvas of remote work has expanded exponentially, with sectors like Finance, Professional Services, and Tech leading the charge in integrating remote capabilities. Interestingly, the data from our research reveals that fewer than one in four employees in remote-capable roles is operating solely from the office. In 2023, 52% of remote-capable jobs were hybrid, and 29% were fully-remote. This trend underscores a fundamental shift in work culture, emphasizing flexibility and adaptability.

Expansion of Flexible Work Options in Job Ads 2019-2023 Chart.

2. The Attraction of Hybrid Work Models

The allure of hybrid work models is palpable. Remote work options are among the five most important benefits for candidates. Job seekers are at least 36% more likely to accept offers for hybrid or remote roles compared to strictly in-person roles. Moreover, candidates are increasingly prioritizing flexibility, with half of them willing to compromise on salary to secure hybrid work arrangements.

When surveyed about their likelihood to accept an offer:

    • • Workers currently working fully remotely were most likely to accept fully remote jobs.

    • • Candidates currently working hybrid were most likely to accept offers that were hybrid, with three days per week remote.

    • • Candidates currently working fully in-person were almost equally likely to accept hybrid roles with either one or 3 days per week remote.

    • • Offers for fully in-person were the least likely to be accepted.

 

3. The Implications of RTO Policies

While 2023 witnessed an uptick in RTO mandates, stringent RTO policies are likely to drive increased attrition among employees in remote-capable roles. Four in ten fully remote employees “report they would be very likely” to search for a new job if their employer removed remote work options, while a quarter hybrid employees would be “very likely” to search for a new job. 

“I was in the office [before the pandemic], and I don’t want that again. If I were to change employers, working remotely would be one of the first things I would ask for. Even if it’s only a few days per week, that would be appealing.” – 30-year-old Hispanic/Latinx Web Developer

 

4. The Multifaceted Benefits of Hybrid Work

The multifaceted benefits of hybrid work extend beyond mere flexibility. Employees in hybrid roles report heightened satisfaction levels concerning company culture, fostering a deeper sense of connection and camaraderie. Contrary to assumptions, hybrid employees match their in-person counterparts in terms of productivity while edging them out marginally in areas like innovation and creativity.

Benefits of Hybrid Work" 1. Increasing Job Offer Acceptance 2. Promoting Connection and Satisfaction 3. Driving Employee Retention 4. Supporting Key Business Outcomes

Hybrid Work Done Well

One example of a notable hybrid model is Spotify’s “Work from Anywhere” program. After implementing this format, Spotify saw improvement in four KPIs: time to hire, racial diversity, representation of women in leadership, and talent retention. A few features:

    • • Work Format Choice: Employees choose their work format (fully remote, hybrid, or fully in-office) in consultation with their direct manager.

    • • Location Choice: Employees can choose where to work across the world without sacrificing net pay.

    • • Financial Support for Co-working Spaces: If employees do not live in a location close to a Spotify office, Spotify supports them with a co-working space membership if they prefer the option to work in an office space.

    • • Office Equipment Support: Spotify supports employees that choose to work from home full or part time with office equipment to work from home.

    • • Online Learning & Development: Majority of learning and development activities happen online. Activities include live and virtual facilitator-led sessions to online courses and tutorials for self-led learning.

 

Talent Acquisition leaders tell us that hybrid work strategy is a key focus of their recruiting functions. As a whole, candidates show a preference for hybrid over remote-only or in-person offers. A hybrid policy can help you attract and retain top talent, improve employee retention and satisfaction, and position your programs more competitively. But adopting the policy formally can bring unique challenges including potential churn.

Download our guide to learn how to best position the narrative around hybrid work to your stakeholders.

Get a quick list of the best practices for hybrid work

Download Hybrid Work Done Well Guide