Hybrid work schedules are growing worldwide, with employees in the U.S. spending an average of 2 days per week in the office. Globally, employees spend 3.1 days in the office, with attendance peaking on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, according to a Nov. 14 report from JLL, a global commercial real estate and investment management company.
For the most part, employees are returning to the office. About 87% of international organizations are encouraging employees to work on-site at least some of the time. In fact, only 20% of employees work completely remotely or up to two days in the office, down from 39% a year ago.
“As more workers return to the office several days a week, we’re continuing to learn about the shifting preferences for ways of working and how we can better deploy technology and flexible arrangements to meet these expectations,” Neil Murray, CEO of Work Dynamics for JLL, said in a statement.
In a survey of more than 20,000 office workers, in-person attendance appears to vary across regions and countries, ranging from two days in the U.S. and U.K. to more than four days in China, India and South Korea. The differences are driven by a combination of cultural nuances, living arrangements and other structural factors, according to the report.
Employers said they value in-person work as a significant contributor to employee productivity, which they listed as one of the top three reasons to entice employees back. They also noted that enhanced office technology and improved amenities play a critical role in attracting workers to come to the office.
Workers, on the other hand, said they value the physical office as a hub for socialization, innovation and professional growth. However, they noted the top barriers to working from the office include commuting, noise and a lack of privacy. Murray said the key will be creating spaces that meet a mix of collaborative and focused work needs.
About two-thirds of employees now work in the office full time, according to a recent Owl Labs report, up from 41% in 2022. However, only 22% said a full-time in-office schedule was their preferred working arrangement, and 58% said they were “coffee badging,” or only going to the office for a few hours to show their face.
Despite the ongoing importance of workplace schedule flexibility, most employees say they’re excluded from discussions about hybrid work and return-to-office mandates, according to Eagle Hill survey. At the same time, nearly half said they’d consider leaving their job if their company reduced their flexibility.
The most successful return-to-office policies include engagement strategy, two HR experts previously told HR Dive. Instead of exit interviews, leaders can use “stay interviews” to gauge employee wants and needs, including factors such as schedule flexibility, employee resource groups, comfortable and collaborative spaces and even design aesthetics such as lighting.