back to article Bosses failing to offer hybrid work lose out in recruitment

By the end of 2023, only 9 percent of knowledge workers worldwide will be fully remote, but 39 percent will combine remote and office-based work, according to analysis by Gartner. The shift is more pronounced in the US, with 51 percent of knowledge workers – those outside retail, manual and semi-skilled work and direct …

  1. andy 103

    Remote flexiblity is not a perk of any job

    A perk of a job is something like

    - above bare minimum pension contributions

    - same for holiday allowance

    - ability to take unpaid career breaks for extended periods then return to the same position. To travel, spend time with family, or whatever you like.

    Where you do that job has no relationship to the types of things above. They are simply not correlated at all.

    Yes, there are some jobs which cannot be done remotely. But there are more that can, at least to some extent.

    It really is this simple. Any employer, in 2023, that is only offering the ability to work from an office quite rightly needs to go under. To the point where it's unthinkable for anybody to pretend forcing people to come into an office is in any way appropriate or something employees should/will tolerate. But moreover, giving human beings flexibility and caring about them, is not a fucking "perk" of any job.

    "visibility of workers is not the same as outcomes". This. Absolutely this.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Remote flexiblity is not a perk of any job

      above bare minimum pension contributions

      That if you are believer in pensions and that you get anything by the time you retire.

      Employer ideally should be paying you the pension allowance directly so you could invest as you see fit, rather than pumping investment funds of the rich.

      1. mattaw2001

        Re: Remote flexiblity is not a perk of any job

        The only two things I found really attractive from immigrating from the UK to the USA financially was that *I* own my mention fund and 30-year fixed mortgages are normal.

        The UK military and the members of Parliament pension are the only two final salary schemes I would ever trust.

    2. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Remote flexiblity is not a perk of any job

      Employers that don't allow for it, in jobs that blatantly can be done remotely don't deserve your time.

      Find somewhere that values your efforts and flexibility. Go there and do a good job for them, on your terms. I can assure you there are orgs out there *desperate* to backfill skilled analytical roles that the average el Reg hack would be more than well placed to take; and pay fair levels on good terms.

      I'm not gonna advertise here, obviously, but the principle stands.

    3. tmTM

      Re: Remote flexiblity is not a perk of any job

      You want me in an office 5 days a week? What do I get in return?

      If you're not offering a decent compensation package in exchange, I'll find someone else who is.

    4. Charles Bu

      Re: Remote flexiblity is not a perk of any job

      "Any employer, in 2023, that is only offering the ability to work from an office..."

      Absolutely right. Now the tech is properly in place for video conferencing with fast and reliable BB connections, there's just no excuse.

      I was invited to interview today and the HR guy basically told me that they ask people to come in for two days a week but no one enforces it. If he'd told me I'd have to honour that I'd have walked away, simple as, and he knew it.

      The labour market is far, far more flexible with remote working; less pressure and pollution in city centres and on transport infrastructure, and healthier life outside work.

  2. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Is this another landlords sponsored piece?

    Imagine having invested hundreds of millions in a building only to have people prefer to work in their shoeboxes anyway.

    They really really want to protect their investments.

    If you can, never go back to office. Better demand that your employer pays you enough so that you can buy a bigger house where you can have dedicated space for work.

    1. andy 103

      Re: Landlords

      They really really want to protect their investments.

      Well yeah, if you're in the business of property you'd probably want some return on it. They only got into that business due to massive demand after all.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Landlords

        This should be banned.

        It offers little benefit, but heavily affects environment negatively. Imagine thousands of people travelling needlessly to such building every day. How much emissions does it generate?

        Then you have all these pointless chain restaurants trying to have a slice of your wage with their overpriced food. Sure you can prepare meals at home, but when if you spend so much time already commuting?

        It's like this system has been designed to exploit workers at every turn.

        1. usbac

          Re: Landlords

          "It offers little benefit, but heavily affects environment negatively. Imagine thousands of people traveling needlessly to such building every day. How much emissions does it generate?"

          This is so true.

          At my previous job (a private company of about 40 people), the owners were very hardcore environmentalists. They donated to environmentalist groups, and marketed the companies sustainability program very heavily.

          When the lock-down hit, they sent everyone to work from home. I was able to do my job effectively from home for over a year, with no problems. I would go in to the office occasionally when something needed to be done hands-on. I was happy to have this "hybrid" arrangement, since I had a commute of over 90 miles round-trip every day.

          At one point they declared that everyone had to go back to the office. I asked about keeping some kind of hybrid arrangement, since I was able to do my job effectively for over a year that way. I was told that since some people could not work from home, it would be unfair to them if I (and some other people that could work remote/hybrid) were able to work from home.

          At that point I brought up the environmental cost of me making that commute 260 days a year. They didn't care. Hypocrites!!

          I found a 100% remote job (at much higher pay), and didn't look back. Considering I wrote about 80% of the critical software that the company runs on over a period of 17 years, good luck to them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: environmentalists

            I find quite a number of richer environmentalists are anything but - look at all the environmentalists campaigning against railway lines and renewable energy, but who support massive road schemes, or the wildlife trusts that provide car parks for their sites but not only no parking for bikes, they actually have No Cycling signs on the roads leading to the car parks. I assume they all own big SUVs.

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: They only got into that business due to massive demand after all.

        Being greedy selfish cunts is also a factor, surely?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    back in the 80s

    When I was studying Computer Science at Uni, remote working was 5 years away.

    1. Marty McFly Silver badge

      Re: back in the 80s

      Ha. My college 'Senior Paper', required for graduation, was titled "Telecommuting, a tool for business success".

      That was in 1992. All research was done on a Apple //c with a 28.8k dial-up modem to the library. I did have to go to the library to get the actual content though (magazines, books, etc). Cutting edge stuff at the time, now it is routine.

  4. bocan

    Complete Nonsense

    Oh please. Why does anyone still think Gartner is relevant? I'd bet a shiny coin that someone paid for for that propaganda piece. These dinosaur CxOs want to get some value from their expensive leases.

    In my field (DevOps engineer / Cloud Architects), as far as I can tell we're about 75% remote, and most people forced to go "hybrid" are looking elsewhere.

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    Ignoring Reality

    I'm seeing several logical threads here and they seem to be in conflict.

    The obvious one is "mass layoffs" versus "difficulty in hiring, need to kowtow to employee wishes".

    I suppose its because everyone likes to be thought of as a key employee, someone who's irreplaceable so the company will bend its entire system around them. There are such people -- there always have been, its not a new phenomenon -- but they tend to be a rather small minority. So another thread might be "I'm irreplaceable" and "nobody really is". Here even when you are genuinely irreplaceable for the work you're doing corporate management may not see things in those terms (my daughter may be in this category -- you can never guarantee that there won't be a change in management that has differing aims and agendas.)

    From my conversations with some GenZ types I'm seriously concerned about the disconnect between what they think they're doing and what, for the same or argument, we might call "real life". Its very easy to mistake a social media bubble for reality. As a retiree I suppose I can sit back and watch developments with interest. Just note the warning sign in this (admittedly journalistic) piece:-

    I've actually seen this sort of thing (ok, a bit more technical than this) in action first hand. It doesn't bode well for the future.

    1. Handlebars

      Re: Ignoring Reality

      I've seen people of all ages unable to do that kind of thing.

      On the other hand, my 18 year old niece was able to fix the optical drive on her games console by following a guide online and she's not interested in tech as such, just had motivation to do this task.

    2. Halfmad

      Re: Ignoring Reality

      I work with a 23 year old chap who had never used a paper hole punch, when asked to file something in a binder he also didn't know what a binder was.

      It's a knowledge gap, nothing more. I remember being that age and being asked to make changes to velum drawings manually, I had no idea how to scrape and redraw on velum, same idea - just needed some guidance. I think the difference is people there days make a song and dance about it online like it's an entire group of people within an age rather rather than the tiny number who hit problems.

      Social media is a cancer on our society for exposing private lives to others.

      Internet "journalists" are the same for dramatising completely mundane things for clicks and views.

  6. AK565

    I doubt many companies requiring a physical presence will change. The jobs will simply go unfilled. Meanwhile the hiring people will just say, "I did what I was sppposed to do."

  7. Marty McFly Silver badge

    The truth

    "Employers should also reconsider how they measure their workforce output and get used to the idea that the "visibility" of workers is not the same as outcomes."

    That is the real answer. Companies that require office work are awash with management styles which monitor the clock, and the amount of time the employee spends in the seat. Some employees are well adapted to that management style and need it to succeed. They need the regiment & structure to be productive.

    However, a lot of employees chafe at that kind of over-the-shoulder monitoring & clock watching. In general, they are the employees which are self-starters, self-motivated, and goal orientated.

    Employers which require work-from-office represent a certain management style which attracts a certain employee. It also excludes other employee types who simply cannot prosper when placed in a tightly controlled & monitored work environment.

    Employees weed out employers too. A company that does not allow WFH / hybrid may not be a good fit for some types of employees - whether they choose to work remote or not.

    1. Handlebars

      Re: The truth

      Agree with this. Some people for various reasons prefer in office. I'm glad that companies exist that suit them, even though it sucks that other employees at the same place who prefer remote will likely need to look for a job.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my current job I haven't visited the office once. Not even for an interview. Bizarre I know. I get to sit at home, work hard and scratch my balls when required without Beryl from HR getting on my case. Lunch is great. I don't have to make lunches for the week as I can take a walk downstairs to cook something healthy. No more Greggs or shite meal deals either. When I finish work I can go for walks in the time I would have wasted commuting though I do put a bit extra in. What's not to like?

  9. Mayday Silver badge

    Do they even care?

    This way they either dont have to lay as many off, because people will leave on their own volition and they’ll save on redundancies, and when they do advertise for a role they’ll have less applicants to _troll_ through.

    Emphasis added.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Less productive when I come in

    Today I came into the office for the one-day-a-week and spent 45min in the morning fixing a production outage, then the rest of the day socializing with folks, especially the one bloke who's retiring and his skills and camaraderie will be SORELY missed.

    I didn't get a damn thing done other than the aforementioned outage repair, and the same for about a round dozen of my co-workers.

    Moral of the story: We're a TON more productive working from home.

    1. RyokuMas

      Re: Less productive when I come in

      Funny thing... during/since COVID, my team has had three major projects which we have had to build from the ground up.

      First one: despite spending hours on various calls, there were ongoing inconsistencies and concerns with the design which led to various team members changing approach on several occasions. Overall outcome was a half-finished MVP that was then shelved when business priorities changed.

      Second one: still lots of times on calls (though not as bad as the first one), but because information wasn't relayed clearly, we ended up with two team members getting the wrong end of the stick when it came to the architecture, ending up in several wasted man-days due to code being written for an incorrect architectural view.

      Third one: Whole team had been called into the office for a morning all-hands, so we decided to spend the rest of the day planning it. We got round a whiteboard, talked through and drew out the architecture, locked down the approach and broke the whole thing down into granular stories. The front-end proof of concept was ready to demo in two weeks, the MVP we're expecting to have in the client's hands by mid-end of the month.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Less productive when I come in

        They got this neat new tool called the video call that lets you get your entire team on a video call so you can all share a virtual whiteboard. Solves that whole problem. If your team can't use this effectively you got team members that aren't team players.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "knowledge workers – those outside retail"

    What ? There are people who know something in retail ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my wife...

    Has moved firms in the last six months. She's gone from a really social, interactive company to one where the majority work remote and the recent policy update has reinforced one day in the office as optional.

    The juniors joining aren't learning as much, the work attitude is different and not as focussed and she and several others are really struggling with the separation from the other team(s) and the ability just to chat over stuff in a freeform way.

    It's not for everyone, but people are now being recruited directly into it so they'll never know if office based is better for them.

    1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

      Re: my wife...

      That is a management failure. If the new starters are not being included then they need to rethink how they onboard/train/involve their staff. Plenty of companies are managing to do this. It requires a different way of managing your staff, one that many "olde skoole" managers cannot or don't want to embrace. Since our management figured out our new way of onboarding new staff I have been way more involved with our new staff and am seeing their progress in a way that I never saw whilst working in the office. Back then they were an irritating distraction from my day to day work, but now I get to see them progress because I am more involved in the process, and better still, they are not distracting me from my day to day work because they can no longer just walk up to my desk and talk to me. Instead they message/email me and I get back to them when I have time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: my wife...

      Agreed - I hear so many people say they are just as productive at home, but they have nothing to compare it to. If I am honest I would say I am more productive in some way and less in others, on a day-to-day basis I accomplish more individual tasks but viewed over months the lack of in-person collaboration means that many projects are taking longer than they should.

  13. MrMerrymaker

    Being required to be in the office

    Let's face it. there's only two reasons they ask this

    1) the job requires it. Not all jobs that exist can be done remotely.

    2) For a perceived benefit of the boss / the company / someone else who resolutely Isn't You so likely does not and will not have your best interests in mind.

    Quality of work is everything.

  14. BigAndos

    I think hybrid is best. I've done fully office based, hybrid of work and home and fully remote over the last 10 years. For me, I need interaction with people face to face now and again or I get a bit depressed and disconnected. I also find certain activities like forming a new team or planning a new project much easier with you all in a room. However, when I need to concentrate then being at home is way better plus commuting sucks so for me a mix with majority of time at home is ideal. The idea of forcing people to be in the office full time just speaks to a nasty, old fashioned management mindset that views employees as a resource to be exploited and doesn't give them any trust.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security is Optional

    They can't handle security on their own systems, what chance do we stand when employees use their own junk full of social crapps, viruses etc and on top of that no one knows what else is happening in their homes. There is such massive scope for deliberate and accidental hacking, information divulging, you name it.

    Who is protecting customers and consumers from these homeworkers - no-one.

    Where is the privacy control? How can I say I do not want my private information broadcast to a homeworkers family or worse?

  16. NoNonsenseScotzGir1

    All the attempts at scare tactics and trying to bully people into offices when it's just not necessary, lies about being less productive (make the right hires, fire the wrong ones and with work from home full time you will see your businesses productivity soar.... of course a lot of companies have stupidly low salaries for what their roles are so they can't attract never mind get the right people...)

    The governments who try to push office returns and hybrid working are trying to to prop up city centre cafes, bars, restaurants, real estate and energy companies... the 1st 3 industries are made up of predominately unskilled workers who can find work in shops and warehouses and other places (warehouses in particular have massively increased recruitment due to the majority shifts in preference to online business, so that industry in particular is booming) or they can upskill to get better than mininmum wage jobs. The 3rd and 4th industries have been greedy and took our blood long enough, and are massive contributors to the global cost of living crisis.

    I found it particularly funny when during coronavirus and after lockdowns were lifted when recruiters were either headhunting me while employed, or when I was made redundant and looking for a new role they told me my expectation of getting a fully work from home role on a permanent basis was unrealistic... one particular person advised me this when I had 6 live opportunites well progressed through multiple rounds of interviews with different companies for roles with salaries ranging between 25k-30k-40k (basic, not ote, I'm in sales) that were all permanently remote jobs (i got offered all of them and picked my favourite, which was the 30k one, it's not ALL about money after all) they acted shocked.... but whether she was truly ignorant of her own market, or whether she was lying to convince folks to interview for her client who was clearly archaic and doing themselves well and truly out of their best potential hires...we shall never know!

    So long as the most (and particularly the best) employees stick up for what they want- businesses will either change or die. And don't go tolerating hybrid either if you really don't want to.... there's national companies people can now work for, not just local companies within reasonable travelling distance from your home. Options are definitely not limited in any way shape or form for the best of the best of any job that can be done remotely ;) and the additional scare mongering tactics of some news outlets and outdated companies that businesses will just end up direct hiring cheaper labour of all kinds from other countries? Nope... legally, it's a minefield and complicated, the tax situations are complicaticated and the insurance situation is complicated (and all the more costly to deal with than hiring within your own country.) So it is not worth it to most businesses, so that is simply even more bollocks from dinosaurs and fat cats who are the only ones really who stand to lose out ;)

  17. Dropper


    What I found is that it's hard to justify the existence of VPs and upper management positions when their are no people around the office to bully. What's a VP to do if they can't find a worker to pick up a piece of paper or replace an empty toner cartridge? It's almost as if these positions serve no purpose whatsoever, except to siphon off a large percentage of the payroll into one bank account.

    Companies that think they can retain key employees, will have to offer more than a pay increase that doesn't match inflation.

    Besides the quality of life benefits from having 1-2 days working from home, there's a simple truth for you. Petrol, road tax and car maintenance costs me more than the free electricity your getting from turning on my computer at home. Note that electricity - because it's not the only bill that goes up if you unnecessarily require people to work in your office. Water, gas and even rent is going up for you.

    Maybe 30% smaller office space and 30% lower utility bills could be seen as a benefit to allowing the 30% of your employees that can easily do 100% of their jobs from home to work there. I've yet to see a job ad that offers not only a hybrid or remote position plus being able to expense the increase in utility bills that comes from working there. That's free money to any company that allows it.

    Oh yes, the other reason they don't want you working from home. They think you won't work. Guess what, people who want to keep their jobs still need to do their work. Also, if you think someone is going to goof off most of the day at home - well those same people will do exactly the same thing at work. They're just good at hiding what they're doing. Not remote cameras needed. If think you can tell how hard a person is working just by looking that them.. well you're probably the same person that thinks a VP position is necessary.

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