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November 29, 2022

EY Survey Ironically Finds the Four-Day Workweek is the New Standard at Many Companies

an empty desk

According to the latest EY Future Workplace Index survey, many companies are moving toward a four-day workweek thanks in part to competition for talent. The survey reveals surprisingly optimistic attitudes from company leadership on real estate investment despite economic tightening, says the press release, a sign that employers want you back in the office at any cost.

From that press release:

Of the companies surveyed, 40% have either started using a four-day workweek or are in the process of implementing one. A prolonged, tight labor market and changing work patterns have employers doing all they can to attract and retain their workforce, and many are adjusting the role of the office to stay competitive. A company’s overall working model must accommodate hybrid working or risk employees searching for more flexible options. The Index found that 69% of company leadership has implemented or is in the process of implementing hybrid work technologies (video collaboration platforms, virtual whiteboards, etc.) to meet employees where they are.

Last year’s Index found that only about 42% of employers were using a hybrid approach, this year respondents reported that more than 70% of employees are working from home at least two to three days a week. There’s a bit of bad news in that: hoteling is not only back, it’s HUGE. Almost 60% of respondents are either using, or will soon be using, reservation systems for space utilization and/or occupancy tracking.

Here’s another data point from the Index: 64% of survey respondents are either leasing or considering leasing suburban office space since the pandemic. Apparently this is a response to “the deurbanization of the workforce” driven by the pandemic. In other words, when people were no longer forced to head into the city for work even the ones who lived there started drifting out to the burbs. And because they really, really want you to come into the office, they are moving offices closer to home:

The physical office is still a crucial component to a company’s ability to thrive now and in the future, and employers believe the connection employees experience within the physical office is worth the investment. In addition to predictable flexibility, companies are also investing in other avenues, such as in-person events (50%), providing meals (45%), reimbursement for commuting costs (38%) and childcare support programs (33%), to encourage employees to come into the office.

Here’s an ugly chart of perks respondents are rolling out to get their people back in the office:

EY Future Workplace Index survey
The EY Future Workplace Index survey asked “Which of the following programs, if any, has your organization deployed to encourage employees to return to the office?”

For those of you who can’t wait for mandatory metaverse training sessions, you’re in luck! 44% of company leadership surveyed have activated or are beginning to invest in the metaverse for social interaction, training and/or recruiting purposes (and are probably counting that as “leading-edge workplace and collaboration technology”). Companies are also investing in “health and safety innovations” such as indoor air quality and touchless offices (what about stopping people from peeing on the seat in the john?). YOU WILL RETURN TO THE OFFICE AND YOU WILL LIKE IT, DAMNIT.

Would you willingly spend more time at the office if it meant less overall time working? And does anyone really give a shit about the metaverse?

EY Future Workplace Index reveals surprisingly rosy attitudes on commercial real estate investment despite economic tightening [PR Newswire]

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