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Work-From-Home Ends for Millions of Americans

Work-From-Home Ends for Millions of Americans

Rob Samtmann | Apr 04, 2023 |
Man working from home office

Share of businesses with workers on-site most of the time neared pre-pandemic levels in 2022, Labor Department finds.

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Gwynn Guilford reported on how rare working remotely has become, only a couple of years after the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of Americans out of their office spaces.

According to a Labor Department report just released in March 2023, 72.5% of all business establishments (i.e., business locations, such as an individual restaurant in a chain) said their employees worked remotely only rarely or not at all in 2022, up from 60.1% in 2021. This number is close to the share of business establishments that had no employees working remotely prior to the pandemic (76.7%).

Since 2022, employers have been pushing harder to require staff to work on-site more often, as recession fears have been spurring employer focus on increased worker productivity. A survey by Robert Half, a global recruitment firm, reported that 92% of managers prefer to have their workers on-site, believing that employees are simply far more productive in the office (although employers also cited the importance of personal contact for mentoring and training staff and new hires).

Large companies have also begun increasing pressure on employees to report in person. For example, Walt Disney Co is now requiring four days a week on-site, while Starbucks has asked office staff to come into the office more frequently and Meta Platforms (Facebook) has begun emphasizing how important in-person time can be in building relationships and productivity.

According to the Labor Department report, hybrid arrangements (which allow employees to split time between work and home offices) have also been decreasing across all industries . One sector with a very significant drop was finance, having decreased by 50% in 2022 versus 2021.

Overall, there has been a wholesale return to the office for many businesses – but as the Labor Department report makes clear, not for all.

To read the full article, click here….  (The Wall Street Journal typically uses a paywall for visitors accessing multiple articles, so this might occur when viewing the WSJ website).

Rob Samtmann

Rob is Managing Principal of Equity Retail Brokers and he specializes in tenant representation and leasing.

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