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The Remote Work “Revolution” May Be Overblown

The Remote Work “Revolution” May Be Overblown

One year after the Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of workers to start clocking in from home, many companies are thinking about how to bring their employees back into the office.

A number of firms think the past 12 months have proven the merits of remote work, and have pledged more flexible schedules. But increasingly, there are signs the work-from-home revolution could have its limits.

What’s happening: Most major global companies no longer intend to trim their physical footprint after the pandemic, according to a KPMG survey of 500 CEOs published Tuesday. Only 17% of CEOs expect to make reductions, versus 69% in August. A mere 30% said they would have most employees working remotely two to three days a week.

“This suggests that either downsizing has already taken place, or plans have changed as the impact of extended, unplanned, remote working has taken a toll on some employees,” KPMG said in its report.

A survey of 1,450 corporate executives in North America published by Accenture (ACN) last month also showed that the shift to home working may not be as dramatic as first expected.

Executives estimated that 18% of employees had permanent flexible arrangements before the pandemic hit. After the pandemic, they predicted that would increase to just 25% on average.

“I expected that number to be higher,” Jimmy Etheredge, Accenture’s CEO of North America, told me this week.

Etheredge thinks the number will increase as discussions continue. At his company, which plans to keep flexible arrangements in place at least through the summer, remote work will likely be managed on a project-by-project basis.

By CNN Business, Julia Horowitz

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