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New Hires Are More Likely to Work in Person

Employers have stopped trying to force workers back to the office, according to new data from employee listening and manager effectiveness platform Perceptyx.  

In a recent panel survey of U.S. working adults, Perceptyx finds that the percentage of workers in remote and hybrid roles has remained stable since the end of the pandemic. Over the past two years, there has been no statistical change in the overall proportion of employees working on-site.  

New employees are an exception. In 2022, employees at every level of seniority worked from the office at roughly the same rates. But by 2023, the share of new employees – those with a tenure of one year or less – working from the office rose from 62% to 69%. Other groups showed more modest increases in in-person work, or even declines.  

“Employers may be phasing out remote and hybrid roles for new hires,” says Emily Killham, senior director of people analytics, research, and insights at Perceptyx. “We’ve all heard stories about businesses telling their employees to show up in person or lose their jobs. But it looks like most companies aren’t pushing their existing staff to come back to the office. Those numbers have stabilized. The return-to-office trend is largely being driven by new hires. If businesses are committed to full-scale RTO, they may be pursuing it through attrition, rather than forcing the issue with existing staff.”  

Other findings point to similar conclusions. Data from job platform Indeed shows that the share of job descriptions advertising remote and hybrid work fell 18% between February 2022 and May 2023.  

Employees who have grown accustomed to flexible work arrangements might not give them up easily. A 2022 Perceptyx study found that hybrid workers – those who split time between home and the office – reported the greatest improvements in productivity, work-life balance, and mental health.  

“Employers are still showing us that they want workers in the office,” says Killham. “Despite evidence that hybrid work can improve morale and productivity, the ‘officism’ bias persists. As new employees join their in-office peers, leaders should continue to listen to the perceptions of those who joined in a remote or hybrid environment to ensure an equitable experience for all. It seems clear that flexible work is here to stay, and how employers handle it will make all the difference.”  

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