February 8, 2023
Suzanne P. Clark
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In this episode of Path Forward, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark hosted an expert discussion about how companies, workers, and cities are adapting to a new era of hybrid work.
Path Forward, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event series, helps business and community leaders find the answers they need to navigate a post-pandemic world.
Majority of Workers Now on a Hybrid Schedule
Mark Grinis, global real estate, hospitality, and construction leader at EY, said that the majority of office workers are now on a hybrid work schedule where workers come into the office for a couple of days a week and work from home the other days.
According to Grinis, of those companies surveyed in EY’s Workplace of the Future Index:
- Roughly 60% of workers follow a hybrid work schedule.
- Approximately 20% of workers are in the office full-time, five days a week.
- 20% of workers are fully remote five days a week.
“Companies are experimenting. They’re learning what’s working and what’s not working,” Grinis said, adding that most of the firms surveyed are having workers come in two to three days per week.
Grinis also said that only about a third of companies surveyed plan to reduce office space, while the other two-thirds are looking to increase office space or invest more in it.
“For most organizations, office space is incredibly important,” Grinis said. “How do we curate and design space that really drives that productivity we’re looking for? … We should make the office an amazing place where people have that great experience. It’s good for the company. It’s good for socialization.”
Clark said that many companies are grappling with how to get the mix of hybrid, remote, and in-office work right.
“We’ve come back in this varied and uneven way. And the question for all of us as employers is going to be: ‘How do we do it well?’” Clark said. “How do we serve our customers, shareholders, employees, and communities for the long run?”
The Impact on Cities and Office Space
The new paradigm of remote work is having a big impact on cities, according to Arpit Gupta, associate professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
“Remote work has the potential to be one of these disrupting forces which changes the urban fabric and how cities function,” Gupta said. “Cities really need to think creatively and strategically about how best to retain their residents. Fundamentally, it’s about making cities more attractive places for people to live and work.”
How Best to Find Great Talent in a Time of Hybrid Work
Sara Morales, vice president of People and Communities at Cisco, said that if companies want to attract and keep the most talented workers that they will have to get flexible.
“Choice and flexibility are going to be the keys to holding onto talent in this new hybrid world,” Morales said. “Hybrid allows us to reach the best talent—wherever they may be—and that great talent wants that choice and flexibility.”
Jeanine Turner, professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, said that organizations might want to experiment with shorter 10- or 15-minute meetings or turning off video cameras entirely during long, virtual meetings.
“We have to be communicating about how we’re communicating,” Turner said. “Don’t just assume that we need to keep doing it the way we’ve been doing it or assume that any practices we created during the pandemic, in a moment of crisis, are necessarily the best ones for the organization.”
From the Series