Is the remote and hybrid revolution over? If you asked people at some of the world’s most successful technology companies, the answer would be a resounding “yes.” 

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, referred to remote working as “bulls–t” and “morally wrong.” 

And, just recently, Zoom—one of the main beneficiaries of remote work—called employees back to the office, albeit only for two days a week for those living within 50 miles of a Zoom office

Still, other big names are convinced this new way of work is here to stay, including Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful, who said in an interview with Inc., “The world’s changed, the economy’s changed, the ethics of work have changed.”

He continued, “We went through an extraordinary period during the pandemic; the idea that you split up a headquarters and you let people leave … and work from home was not even contemplated, it was considered too risky. Now it’s a proven, effective method of project management.” 

We share Mr. Wonderful’s sentiment, and our clients do, too.

Why? Because that’s what younger generations want. 

Millennials and Generation Z Want to Work on Their Own Terms

There’s a divide between companies and their employees (candidates included) about return-to-office (RTO) policies—a divide that has major recruitment and hiring implications. 

On the one hand, most experienced employees would rather leave their job than go into the office 5 days a week. Meanwhile, one study found that 75% of managers want employees back in the office, citing “a loss of company culture, potential lack of focus, and productivity” as the key reasons to return. Many managers would even fire employees refusing to return to the office.

We don’t blame managers for pushing for a return. Studies have found remote work may hurt productivity, collaboration, culture, and career development.

According to Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and Chief Executive Officer of SHRM, “We’re returning to the office because we are in an uber-competitive environment on the verge of an economic downturn, and we need everything going our way—which means innovation, collaboration, efficiency.” 

But he [Taylor] also realizes this might not land with younger generations. He continued, “However, returning to the office is likely to face stiff resistance from an emboldened workforce with a newly found taste for remote work and an expectation for work flexibility.”

 A compromise is needed. 

Right now, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work a hybrid model. By 2025, an estimated 32.6 million Americans will work remotely, which equates to about 22% of the workforce. That number will continue to rise as younger generations enter the workforce. Case in point: 84% of millennials say remote work is important, while 66% of Gen Z echo the sentiment

The message is clear: If companies want to hire top talent in 2023 and beyond, they’ll have to do so with a flexible workplace in mind. And if they need more convincing, they should consider the financial angle that’s particularly prominent in a down economy. According to a study, companies offering remote work could save up to $10,600 per employee annually

Let Wellington Steele & Associates Help You Hire Top Talent in a Hybrid-First World 

Adjusting to a remote or hybrid hiring strategy won’t happen overnight, but we can help. Reach out today to learn more about how the team at Wellington Steele & Associates can help you make the smartest hiring decisions and navigate the increasingly choppy waters.

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