Bosses Dislike Work-from-home Arrangement but See It Becoming Ingrained: US Survey

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NEW YORK – Business leaders think that the spread of remote work has had more negative effects than positive ones, but they also see the practice becoming ingrained, according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Roughly two-thirds of respondents said remote work had a negative impact in four areas: workplace culture, cohesiveness and team environment, communication among employees, and training and mentorship.

The upside for employers: more than half said a work-from-home arrangement makes it easier to recruit staff, and over two-thirds said it helps to retain them.

The study comes as high-profile companies from Citigroup to Amazon.com are pushing to get more of their workers back in the office. The shift to remote work during the pandemic is enduringly popular with employees, but corporate chiefs worry that it is making their businesses less productive.

Commercial property markets and downtown businesses like restaurants have also taken a hit.

According to the New York Fed survey, 68 per cent of employees at United States service firms work in-person all the time and 13 per cent work entirely remotely. The other 19 per cent have a hybrid status, averaging 2.2 days per week out of the office. That balance is not expected to change much in the coming year. At manufacturing firms, 94 per cent of employees work in-person.

The survey found that 25 per cent of business leaders have changed policies over the past year to require more in-person work, while 17 per cent plan to do that in the coming year.

Overall, service firms would prefer more than three-quarters of their workers to be fully on-site – 9 percentage points higher than the current share.

Remote work is also changing the physical environment of the workplace. About one in eight service firms has reduced its office space over the past year, with an average reduction of 41 per cent.

Source: The Straits Times