RIP WFH? Poll say we'll soon be back in the office
By Simon Hacker | 12th October 2023
Scrap that nice new revolving chair for the spare bedroom and start shopping for smart trousers: a new survey of 1,300 CEOs both here and globally suggests that they hold a strong belief that we're all imminently heading back to the office.
Post-pandemic workng from home days (WFH) might have become the norm, but the latest international and UK heads-up with bosses by audit and tax giant KPMG suggest staff will be spending less time with pets and more time swiping lanyards within the next three years.
Allied to this belief, the results also suggest that anyone who hangs on to stay at the other end of a Zoom connection could see their career opportunities stall.
The latest annual KPMG CEO Outlook survey found 64% of leaders globally, and 63% of those in the UK expect a full return to in-office working by 2026.
And any trend among employers to reel workers back into one place already looks evident in Gloucestershire. As reported last month in Punchline-Gloucester.com, Lloyds Bank in Barnwood was expecting staff to increase their office time .
Citigroup has made similar moves to Lloyds while big employers Amazon, Google and Meta are also shifting their expectation away from WFH.
A spokesperson for KPMG said: "This [finding] remains consistent with [CEOs'] views in the 2022 CEO Outlook. What's more, 87 percent of CEOs say they are likely to reward employees who make an effort to come into the office with favorable assignments, raises or promotions."
The sentiment, they added, "underscores the persistence of traditional office-centric thinking among CEOs" and comes against a backdrop of the debate surrounding hybrid working, which has had "a largely positive impact on productivity over the past three years and has strong employee support, particularly among the younger generation of workers".
KPMG says that as organisations continue to roll out their return-to-office plans, it is crucial that leaders take a long-term view that embraces the employee value proposition and encompasses the considerations and needs of employees to ensure that talent is nurtured and supported.
Nhlamu Dlomu, KPMG's global head of people, said: The data underscores the immense pressure on CEOs to make quick decisions on the big issues. The war for talent may have softened in this period of economic uncertainty, but the evidence suggests a one-siz fits all approach to return to office could be detrimental.
In further findings from the survey, KMPG said that while there is broad alignment on the importance of inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE), there continues to be "concern around the pace of progress".
They said: "Two-thirds of global CEOs (66 percent) maintain that progress on inclusion and diversity has moved too slowly in the business world and a strong majority (72 percent) say that achieving diversity in workplaces requires implementing a change across the senior leadership level."
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