Most business leaders want a hybrid workplace, but don’t know what that actually means

May 21, 2021, 10:07 AM UTC

Good morning.

Most business leaders have decided to go hybrid. But most of them don’t yet know, in any detail, what that means. McKinsey & Company has new data out this week that underscores the point. 

In a survey of 100 executives, only 10% of them expect their office workers to spend more than 80% of their time in the office—even though 99% of them expected that before the pandemic. A full 80% of them foresee a “hybrid” workplace, with workers spending 20% to 80% of their time in the office.

But when asked whether they had a detailed plan for hybrid work that had been communicated their employees, 68% of them said no. Twenty-one percent said they had a “detailed plan” that hadn’t yet communicated it. And only 11% said they had a detailed plan that had been communicated to employees. In short, the world of work is rapidly rushing into the unknown.

Separately, since it is Friday, some feedback. A Canadian reader, who simply identified themselves as “P,” wrote in on the fight over whether companies should speak out on state voting laws:

“There are two main issues at play around voting: voting security versus voting access.

This is not an insurmountable problem – it takes willing people to hammer out fair solutions that satisfy both issues.  It is troubling that the most advanced country in the world, with the biggest economy and the longest running democratic government, cannot find the means to meet both of these ends.”

Troubling indeed. M.H. wrote in with some thoughts on “stakeholder capitalism”:

“I agree with the idea of ‘stakeholders’, but I see too many corporations being more concerned about community and not what really determines organizational success—customers and employees.”

Not sure I see what M.H. sees. Since the start of the pandemic, most CEOs I’ve spoken with put employees at the top of the list.

Other news below. And you can find more detail from our 2021 survey of Fortune 500 CEOs, which I wrote about on Monday, here.

Alan Murray


Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley has set up the race to succeed current CEO James Gorman, via a management reshuffle. Names in the frame now include Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein, who have been made co-presidents, and Jonathan Pruzan (now operations chief) and Dan Simkowitz (now shepherding strategy and execution as well as heading up investment management). The fact that all four are men has not gone unnoticed, as rival banks have been including women in their leadership pipeline or, in Citi's case, actually appointing a female CEO. Wall Street Journal

Tax talks

The Biden administration, which had previously pushed for a 21% global minimum tax rate for large multinationals, has now indicated it would be OK with a 15% floor. Ireland, the home of many Big Tech firms' international operations, is still pushing back against anything that would force it to raise its 12.5% corporate tax rate. Fortune

Bond cartel

The European Commission has again fined big banks over their participation in a bond-trading cartel, this time for illegal collusion in Euro-denominated bond markets at the height of the financial crisis. Nomura, UBS and UniCredit got $452 million in fines, but Bank of America escaped this time because it quit the cartel very early on. NatWest avoided an enormo-fine because it blew the whistle. Fortune

Olympic antipathy

More than two-thirds of Japanese companies want the government to postpone or cancel the looming Olympics, over fears of a spike in coronavirus infections. Nine weeks before the Games begin, much of Japan is under a state of emergency, and only 4% of the population has been vaccinated. A Reuters survey found 37% of firms want the Olympics canceled, and 32% want it postponed. Reuters


Brexit bonus?

Brexit gave the U.K. the opportunity to "write even better regulations for the financial sector", according to Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the CEO of buy-now-pay-later fintech Klarna. Siemiatkowski said he expected banks and fintechs to move to the U.K. as a result. He also said Klarna, Europe's most valuable unlisted startup, might list in London but not immediately, as he expects overheated markets to drop this fall. Financial Times

Bitcoin mining

Tesla techmaestro (or whatever he's calling himself) Elon Musk has weighed in on cryptocurrency yet again, this time suggesting that the environmental impact might be mitigated by energy audits of the biggest Bitcoin miners, to check how much renewable energy they use. Bonus read: Fortune's Robert Hackett on what the heck went on in this week's crypto-chaos (also featuring Musk, naturally). Fortune

Popular mess

America's tax code is really messy but people generally kinda like it, write two political-scientist Christophers—Ellis (Bucknell University) and Faricy (Syracuse University)—in a piece for Fortune: "As we show in a series of survey experiments in our recent book, public support for a wide variety of social benefits is significantly higher when those benefits are framed as being delivered through tax breaks rather than framed as direct government spending." Fortune

Biden plans

Speaking of tax, the U.S. Treasury Department yesterday gave some details about the Biden administration's plan to step up IRS enforcement in order to boost tax revenues. Treasury reckons wealthy taxpayers are hiding more than half their income outside of wages and salaries, which helps to explain why the department thinks it can pull in $700 billion more over a decade. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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