Hybrid work model? Many companies still say no

With many high-profile companies embracing a hybrid work model for employees going forward, it gives the impression that companies in general are considering it, but a recent survey of senior hiring managers found a surprisingly high number of companies want their employees fully back in the office as soon as possible, making hybrid the exception, not the rule.

“A lot of the managers — 71% to be exact — said they would want people to be fully in office at this time,” said Trey Barnette with staffing firm Robert Half, which surveyed senior managers at more than 2,800 companies.

Robert Half surveyed employers about hybrid work. (Courtesy Robert Half)

In the D.C. market, just 18% of managers said they would allow a hybrid model of working from home and in-office after the pandemic has passed, and just 12% said they would allow their employees to decide.

Perhaps surprisingly, the share of managers at technology-related companies who expect employees to be eventually fully in office is slightly higher than the overall average, at 72%.

The larger the company, the more likely it was to indicate it would allow for a hybrid work schedule.

A separate recent survey indicated that one in three professionals currently working from home due to the pandemic said he would look for a new job if required to return to the office full time. That is something for all employers to consider.

“It all starts with, are the companies doing their homework? There is not a one-size-fits-all approach. They should make sure they are surveying their employees to understand why some don’t want to return to the office full time,” Barnette said.

While a surprisingly high number of professionals would quit rather than return to the office, Barnette said it would be a bad idea to tell the boss that.

“That’s never a good approach to use it as a scare tactic or a threat. All that would do is create uncertainty at work,” he said.

Robert Half has posted a breakdown by industry and company side of the future of hybrid work online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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