CEOs Say Full-Time Office Return Not a Priority in 2024

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recent survey by The Conference Board revealed that only 4% of CEOs consider making a full-time return to the office a top priority in 2024. The survey, which included responses from over 1,200 executives, including 630 CEOs across the United States, Latin America, Japan, and Europe, indicates a shift in priorities as companies grapple with labor shortages and adapt to changing work dynamics.

According to Diana Scott, human capital centre leader at The Conference Board, CEOs are acknowledging the effectiveness of hybrid work arrangements, balancing remote and in-office time, and are focusing more on attracting and retaining talent, which emerged as their top priority for 2024.

The move towards hybrid work has become the norm for many white-collar workers, with approximately 30% of paid workdays being done remotely after full-time remote work peaked at around 60% during the pandemic. The survey reflects the growing acceptance among executives that employees may not return to physical offices every day.

Talent retention and attraction have taken precedence, especially in the context of persistent talent shortages, with 7 in 10 employers struggling to find individuals with the necessary skills, as per the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The emphasis on talent management aligns with the broader trend in the workforce, where remote and hybrid work arrangements have become integral to maintaining a work-life balance.

While some companies have implemented return-to-office mandates, the study suggests that such mandates may not necessarily lead to improved financial performance or value. Instead, there may be declines in employees’ job satisfaction, highlighting the importance of flexibility and accommodating different work preferences.

As the hybrid work model takes hold, companies are recognising the need to cater to diverse employee preferences, offering a balance between in-office and remote work options. This approach acknowledges the benefits of both work styles and positions companies to adapt to the evolving nature of work in 2024 and beyond.