May 16, 2022 - Economy

Employers are allowing more remote work days

Data: Barrero, et al., 2021, “Why working from home will stick”; Note: Each wave surveyed between 2,500 and 5,000 U.S. adults; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bosses are coming around to the idea of remote work, at least for part of the week.

Driving the news: U.S. employers, of staff who've worked remotely at least some of the time during the past couple of years, are easing up on the return to office plan. They're now saying they plan to allow an average of 2.3 days per week at home up, from about 1.5 in summer 2020, according to a new survey.

The big picture: At a basic level, people got better at working remotely, and the tech improved as well. (Remember Zoom bombing?)

  • More unexpected, however, some employers got a lot of "pushback from disgruntled employees," says Steven J. Davis, professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Davis and economists Nicholas Bloom and Jose Maria Barrero have been running a monthly remote work survey since the pandemic began.
  • And, in a tight labor market, there was extra pressure to cave.

Who caved? Some big guns: JPMorgan Chase, Apple and Airbnb all changed their expectations for employees this year, as Bloomberg recently reported. Even some major law firms.

My thought bubble: WFH is beyond trend now. This is a real change. Back in March 2020, few workers were remote, according to research from Davis and Co.

  • I don't think we'll go back to that.
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