Remote Jobs and Work-From-Home Options Make It Easier to Hire: Study

Remote Jobs and Work-From-Home Options Make It Easier to Hire: Study

Data suggests firms offering hybrid or remote work are growing staff faster than less flexible ones.
In a study, firms with remote work grew staff twice as fast as those with full in-office mandates.
With a tight labor market, Americans often look for flexibility in where they can do their work.

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Companies with a hybrid or fully remote-work environment are winning talent and growing staff two times as fast as less flexible companies.In fact, offering just one day of remote work a week had a major effect on hiring, found an analysis of over 4,500 companies from the software firm Scoop Technologies and the data-technology company People Data Labs.The analysis found that the fully remote companies in the study had head-count growth rates over double those of fully in-person companies.The findings were released against a backdrop of many major companies requiring employees to return to the office full time. JPMorgan asked half its employees to return to the office five days a week. Goldman Sachs asked employees to return to the office five days a week as well, while companies such as Google and Apple have asked workers to come in at least three days a week.In a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, many company leaders said they felt workers were more efficient in an office, where they could collaborate more easily and receive more direct training. They added that it’s easier to build trust in person, as well as network more effectively.By the time fall rolls around, the real-estate consulting firm JLL predicts about 1 million more workers will be expected to return at least part time to the office. This push may lead thousands of Americans to look for work at more flexible companies to avoid expensive commutes and childcare.In a tight labor market — the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% last month, just barely above the 50-year low — remote flexibility is what attracts many workers. In a survey led by the Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom, workers said they considered flexible work arrangements equivalent to as much as an 8% pay raise.Fully in-person companies underperform more flexible companiesThe Scoop Technologies and People Data Labs analysis found that its respondents that were fully flexible companies — those that don’t require any days in the office — grew their staff by 5.6% from May 2022 to May 2023. This figure was even greater for fully remote companies, at 6.9%. That last number was over double the head-count growth rate for companies requiring employees to be in the office full time, which averaged 2.6%.Company respondents in the structured-hybrid category, which requires some days in the office, grew staff by 4.1% over the same period, the analysis found.The study found the average company requiring in-office work asked staff to come in just over 2.5 days a week. There was little difference between companies’ hiring growth rates for those requiring one day a week in the office and those mandating three — from May 2022 and May 2023, companies requiring one day in the office grew head count by 4.8%, compared with 4.4% for those requiring three days, the analysis found.Some companies have been pushing for four-day in-person workweeks, including Disney and Chipotle. Though some companies pushing for more in-person requirements have cited reasons such as productivity, the researchers found a decline in head-count growth for companies requiring four days in person, with year-over-year growth at just 3.8%.”Company executives should be very careful to consider the potential impact on attracting talent if they require four days per week or more in the office,” the report said.These findings were most pronounced for companies with between 500 and 5,000 employees. Over the 12-month period, fully flexible and structured-hybrid companies grew their workforce by more than double the rate of full-time in-office companies. Over the past three months, midsize structured-hybrid companies more than tripled their head-count growth rate compared with fully in-person companies.”Headcount growth is not a perfect proxy for economic growth, but it is likely that the companies that are adding headcount are also the ones that are growing sales,” the authors wrote. “Put simply, the growth in the economy — at least for corporate employees — appears to be with the companies that are offering flexibility.”Are you a business owner deciding on your work-from-home policy? Have you found difficulty hiring new workers? Share your story with this reporter at [email protected].

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