Return to Office Trends February 2024
- Jacob Rowden
With the new year has come another shift in the evolving return-to-office landscape: where 2023 was characterized by establishment of policies, 2024 is shaping up to be characterized by adoption of policies. New office attendance mandates continue to be rolled out, but the pace is slowing significantly as the vast majority of private employers now require hybrid attendance. At the beginning of February, 91% of Fortune 100 employees are subject to either hybrid or fully in-office policies, while just 1.4% work for fully remote employers, with the remainder employing team-based or alternative approaches. The average attendance requirement across the Fortune 100 is now 3.1 days.
PNC Bank and American Family Insurance were two of the larger private employers who eliminated fully-flexible work with the establishment of hybrid policies in the first few weeks of the year. Outside of the private sector, the federal government continues to slowly finalize new policies which are expected to take effect in 2024, and other state governments including California and Nebraska are similarly working towards formalizing office attendance requirements for employees that have been remote since the pandemic.
Other employers with established policies are still seeking to improve adoption, broaden policies or increase requirements altogether. EY announced in January they would start tracking attendance, Bank of America began notifying employees for non-compliance, IBM extended their existing policy across all teams, and UPS increased their attendance requirement from three days to five. This is expected to continue throughout 2024, as most executives still believe that office attendance will increase inside and outside of their organizations over the medium term.
Office attendance rates continue to reflect the dominance of hybrid strategies, attendance rates in December fell slightly to 63.5% of 2019 levels. Attendance is expected to increase in 2024, but at a slower rate than previous years with fewer employers implementing wholesale changes in attendance requirements. As the labor market remains healthy but gradually softening, employers appear to have stabilized their remote hiring at just under 9% of all roles, roughly doubling pre-pandemic rates.