Employees and employers may finally be reaching a happy middle ground on remote work arrangements, a new report finds. And it’s not the old model of requiring workers to come into the office every day.
A majority of companies now offer hybrid work arrangements, according to the most recent Flex Report from remote work platform Scoop. The report finds that of the 4,000-plus companies it collects data on, 51% of companies are hybrid in Q2, compared to 43% last quarter. The increase in hybrid work is “largely coming” from a decrease in the share of companies requiring workers to be on-site full time: That dropped from 49% last quarter to 42% now. The last 7% of companies are fully remote.
In fact, the average number of days companies are requiring employees to be in office is right in the middle of fully remote and fully in-office, at 2.5, according to the report.
“I kind of view it as kind of a truce between employers and employees,” says Rob Sadow, Scoop’s CEO and cofounder. “Most companies are expecting employees in two or three days a week…That’s increasingly the bargain that’s being struck.”
Large swaths of the workforce started logging into their 9-to-5s from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many workers, the flexibility was a gift—and one they’d like to hold onto, much to the chagrin of some employers, who say the collaboration fostered in offices is crucial to a business’s success, among other arguments for in-person work. For months, some employers and employees have been at odds over return-to-office plans and mandates.
But the embrace of hybrid policies in recent months shows that some employers see the value in maintaining some of that employee flexibility in the years to come.
The rise of ‘structured hybrid’
What Scoop terms “structured hybrid”—setting specific expectations on when employees work from the office—is winning out as the standard arrangement for many large companies that are neither fully remote nor fully in-office, with 30% of companies adopting this model.
Those expectations vary, with some companies requiring a minimum number of days in office, some requiring specific days, and/or some requiring a minimum percentage of time employees must be in office. Of those options, requiring employees come into the office a minimum number of days each week is the most popular.
“We’re seeing a general shift toward a less prescriptive hybrid model, which may help balance in-office demands with the remote flexibility we know employees value,” the report reads.
Scoop also finds that employers who require employees come in on specific days, Wednesdays are the most popular, and Fridays are the least likely.
“You used to have summer Fridays, getting out early,” says Sadow. “Now we’re starting to move to what really feels like year-round summer Fridays for people.”
Of course, work arrangements vary by sector and profession. Tech is still the most flexible industry, according to Scoop’s report: 75% of tech companies are either fully remote or allow employees to choose where they work. But banking, insurance, manufacturing, and real estate are increasingly embracing the structured hybrid model.
Companies with 50,000 or more employees are much more likely to offer structured hybrid arrangements, according to Scoop’s report: 66% of large companies are structured hybrid, compared to 14% of companies with fewer than 500 employees.
That said, large companies also saw the biggest shift away from fully flexible arrangements.
Sadow expects to see the percentage of companies offering fully flexible arrangements—but he also expects fewer and fewer companies will require employees to be in the office full time. Hybrid will continue to win out, he says.
“Companies requiring people to be in full time are finding it harder to do. Competitors are offering more flexibility,” he says. “Employees really don’t want to be in the office five days a week and have made that incredibly clear to their employers.”