Aug 26, 2022 - News

The future of Boston office work is hybrid

Illustration of an office chair moving from left to right, but slowing down and reversing before it gets all the way across the screen.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Workers prefer to come into the office just once a week — a trend that's expanding as the hybrid work model goes mainstream, our Axios What's Next colleagues write.

By the numbers: Workplace occupancy data company Basking, which tracks workers' comings and goings, found 50% of workers globally who visited the office in the second quarter of 2022 did so only once a week.

  • That's up from 44% the previous quarter, according to Bloomberg.
  • The same report found that 15% fewer people are coming into the office four or five days a week compared to earlier this year.

Zoom in: Boston's office workers are no exception to the trend, and business groups are waiting to see how the workweek shakes out.

  • "Employees are still thinking about what's best for them, and whether it settles in at one or three [days] is all still evolving," Massachusetts Business Roundtable executive director J.D. Chesloff told Axios.

The Business Roundtable surveyed member companies this spring, and found that 65% of the companies expect hybrid schedules to be "the new normal."

  • 21% still have most of their workforce at home, down from 81% in 2021.
  • More than a quarter of companies say they're mostly or fully back to work in-person.

Yes, but: Where Boston stands out compared to other cities is our large life sciences and medical industries, which tend to demand more in-person work.

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council surveyed 121 life sciences employers last year and found that an average of 65% of employees were in research or laboratory roles that largely require them to be there in person.

  • MassBio CEO Joe Boncore told Axios in an email that outside of research, expanding biomanufacturing companies are adding in-person jobs to the area.

What they're saying: The necessity of in-person work is not only beneficial for advancing science, Boncore said, but "it’s also been good for the areas and neighborhoods around life science campuses."

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