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Remote-Only Business Grow Slower, Survey Finds

Companies that have fully returned to the office are growing faster than those with hybrid or remote workforces, according to results of a survey released today by workforce management platform, Rippling.  

Rippling’s survey of 1,200 human resources, finance, and information technology professionals finds that 46% of respondents with in-office workforces report their companies are growing headcount rapidly. By comparison, only 41% with fully remote workforces and 39% with hybrid policies claim rapid growth.  

As a further indication of growth, businesses with in-office teams are also prioritizing recruitment. Hiring top talent is a priority for 41% of HR professionals at in-office companies compared to 30% at hybrid companies and 17% at fully remote companies.  

Rippling’s research indicates a connection between the amount of time spent on administrative tasks and the rate of growth, with 34% of respondents whose companies are not growing saying they are spending too much of their time on admin, compared to 19% among respondents in rapid-growth businesses. This administrative burden, effectively a “task tax” on growth, particularly impacts remote-only businesses.  

Remote and hybrid companies face a higher administrative burden. Remote workers spend 57% of their time on admin work, and 45% say it’s too much. Hybrid workers spend 45% of their time on admin work, and 26% say it’s too much. In-person workers spend 43% of their time on admin work, and 32% say it’s too much.  

Remote companies also deal with more integration challenges, with 71% of HR professionals in remote-first companies struggling with fielding requests for information compared to 53% of their in-office counterparts. More than half (57%) of HR professionals in remote-first companies struggle with accessing real-time data to form strategic insights, compared to 35% of their in-office counterparts.  

Remote workers use more software tools, despite preferring fewer. Three-quarters (76%) of respondents from fully remote companies use seven or more software tools, while 57% of respondents from hybrid companies use seven or more software tools, and 55% of those from fully in-office companies use seven or more in-office tools.  

Remote companies spend more time on manager training, potentially to compensate for technology integration issues. Training managers is a priority for 59% of HR professionals at fully remote companies compared to 54% of hybrid companies and 39% of in-office companies. 

“Technology integration issues impose an administrative burden on every business,” says Darcy Mackay, Rippling’s SVP of HR and client services. “While in-person teams can sometimes mask those challenges more easily with a quick or overheard conversation, remote work holds a magnifying glass up to the problem by eliminating many of those workarounds. But even workarounds aren’t enough, as any among of task tax will ultimately slow business growth. Most businesses in the current economy are laser-focused on efficiency, so those who fail to address their administrative burden will eventually struggle to compete.”  

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