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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

We can officially declare the 9-to-5, five-days-a-week, in-office way of working dead. But offices themselves aren't dead. And neither are cities.

The big picture: Since the onset of pandemic-induced telework, companies have oscillated between can't-wait-to-go-back and work-from-home-forever. Now, it's becoming increasingly clear that the future of work will land somewhere in the middle — a remote/in-person hybrid.

Surveys conducted in the six months since most people started working from home show that less than 10% of Americans actually want to work remotely all the time, according to a new Barclays analysis.

  • The much more common desire is for flexibility: the option to come to the office a few days a week for meetings and face-to-face time with colleagues.
  • The U.S. workers who have already returned to the workplace are spending half a day less per week there, per Barclays.

And despite the hype around remote work, the share of job postings that are fully remote is just 4%, the report says. It was 2% before the pandemic began.

Still, the longer-term impact of the coronavirus could reduce the need for office space by 10%–20%, Barclays notes. That's a massive shift that will change the way cities and towns across the country look."

The reduction in office spaces will hurt cities' finances," says urbanist Richard Florida. "The decline of the central business district will be painful."

  • "But it's important to disentangle the pandemic's effects on real estate and its effect on cities," he says. Young people will still want to live in urban centers, and, eventually, what used to be office space will be rented by stores or restaurants or art galleries.
  • And fancy Fortune 500 corporate headquarters — 90% of which are located in metro areas with populations of 1.3 million or more — won't disappear either, says Florida. Companies will keep building these campuses and filling them with perks like free food, green space and gyms to attract talent.

Worth noting: As hybrid work looks to be gaining popularity, companies with experience managing all-remote teams say that model can come with problems.

  • "I’ve worked in hybrid settings that have been disasters," says Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab, the world's largest all-remote company. Often when firms try to combine the two approaches, they are less intentional about documenting what happens during in-person chats or planning social events that people can join from their remote locations.
  • "It works if you structure the organization as if everyone is remote."

Go deeper: Companies weigh the potential of permanent work-from-home

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Dec 24, 2020 - Energy & Environment

States and companies are now hotbeds of climate action

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In the four years since the U.S. federal government last paid serious attention to climate change, the problem has become a top priority across states and corporations.

Why it matters: Washington, D.C. isn't the only place, or even the most important place, where meaningful climate change action is likely to happen in the coming years.

Tim Scott hopes to reintroduce version of GOP police reform bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday called on all employers to provide workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from COVID side effects, and said he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses that do so.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees workplaces as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.