A pair of recent studies reported here indicates that the pandemic-related remote workforce trend shows signs of reversal. According to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, 72.5% of business establishments reported that their employees teleworked rarely or not at all in 2022. That number was 60.1% in 2021. A second survey conducted by economists found that in February 2023, businesses reported that only 27.7% of total employee days worked were from home, verses 60% during peak pandemic periods in 2020. Both of these surveys reflect that work from home is giving way to hybrid work, and for some, a full-time return to the work site.
Although the overall trend indicates a return to on-site work, certain industries appear to embrace remote work more than others. Thirty-three percent of businesses surveyed in the information sector (which includes tech and media firms), and about half of businesses surveyed in the professional and business sector (which includes law and accounting firms), reported that their employees worked full-time from the office in 2022. A recent surge in leisure, hospitality and retail jobs, which are more suited to in-person work, has made an outsized contribution to rising numbers of on-site employees.
Some employers believe that employees are more productive when working on site, and that it’s easier to train, mentor and build collaborative working relationships in person. Still, remote work is far from over. The percentage of employees across all industries working on a fully remote basis actually rose from 10.3% in 2021 to 11.1% in 2022, and 13% of current job postings are for remote positions. For employers and employees who long for a return to in-person work, however, the trend appears to be in their favor.