Jobs and the Future of Work

Employers are giving workers the work from home days they want

remote work from home

Work from home is on the rise in the United States. Image: Unsplash/Chris Montgomery

Michelle Cheng
Reporter, Quartz
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Jobs and the Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

  • The number of days US employees spend working from home increased from 1.58 per week in January 2021 to 2.37 in June 2022.
  • The tight US labour market is making workers feel more confident in making demands of their employers about remote working.
  • Employers that have increased the number of remote days they offer have done so out of concern for worker productivity and retention, an economist says.
  • But some employees feel there are too many remote days, and younger workers are keener to go to the office to build up their social and professional networks.

More than two years after the start of the covid-19 pandemic, US workers are closer than ever to getting the remote-work arrangements they want.

In late 2020, the gap between how many work from home days workers wanted and how many remote days hybrid employers were planning was 1.38 days, according to a monthly online survey from WFH Research, a project that has been tracking workplace attitudes and worker arrangements each month since May 2020. By June 2022, that gap had narrowed to 0.44 days.

The difference is largely gone not because employees are wanting fewer remote days, but because employers are offering more of them, with the average number of days per week employees are invited to work from home rising from 1.58 days per week in January 2021 to 2.37 days per week in June 2022.

The narrowing gap signals that the US labor market remains tight, with workers feeling confident in making demands of their employers.

Work from home days: employer plans vs workers' desires

A graph showing US workers' desires and employer plans for number of work from home days per week.
Workers' desires to work from home are much greater than employers plans. Image: Quartz.

Companies are continuing to experiment with work from home patterns, said Nicholas Bloom, an economist who helped conduct the study (and who has been working from home since 2004). Employers that increased the number of remote days did so out of concern for worker productivity and retention, he said.

But some employees feel there are too many remote days. For instance, Bloom says, many younger workers want to work from home no more than two or three days each week, perhaps because unlike their older counterparts, younger employees have yet to build up their social and professional networks.

What does the future hold for remote work?

The increased embrace—or tolerance—of remote work also comes as a potential recession looms. Will remote work trends withstand a downturn?

Slashing office spending is one way for employers to cut costs. But a recession typically brings about layoffs and higher unemployment, so management may gain the upper hand eventually.

Discover

How is the World Economic Forum promoting equity in the workplace?

Have you read?
Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How young workers can thrive with AI when they have the right skills

Peter Brown, Kathy Parker and Harriet Newlyn

July 15, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum