Companies offering flexible work growing faster than those that don't

Research has found a strong correlation between the number of in-office days required each week and workforce growth

Boston is offering tax breaks to companies to turn offices into housing to address the challenge of remote work emptying city centres. Bloomberg
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Companies with flexible in-office policies are hiring faster than those that have fully returned to pre-coronavirus attendance rules. But landing a flexible job still comes with challenges.

New research from Scoop Technologies, which advises organisations on how to co-ordinate hybrid staffing, compared headcount growth at about 3,600 fully-flexible, hybrid and entirely in-office companies.

It found that flexible businesses – those with hybrid, fully remote or electively remote staff – added headcount at more than two times the rate of fully in-office counterparts during the March-through-May period.

“Companies grow faster when they offer flexibility because people are more excited to join,” said Rob Sadow, co-founder and chief executive of Scoop.

Prospective employees rank flexibility second only to compensation when it comes to workplace satisfaction, meaning that consistent headcount growth might be explained in part by talent flocking to flexible companies, he said.

“Companies should tread really carefully around expanding requirements to be in the office above three days,” said Mr Sadow.

The research also found a strong correlation between the number of in-office days required each week and workforce growth.

Companies with one-day-a-week rules expanded staff by about 5 per cent over the past year, compared with 2.6 per cent at five-days-a-week businesses.

“Companies should tread really carefully around expanding requirements to be in the office above three days because that's where we start to see a pretty meaningful impact on ability to grow headcount,” said Mr Sadow.

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Despite the rise in hiring by flexible companies, job growth across the board is slowing.

US nonfarm payrolls expanded by 209,000 in June – the smallest monthly increase since the end of 2020 – indicating that the overall number of open roles is dipping while demand remains high.

Jobs advertising full-time remote work attracted about half of all applications on LinkedIn in May, compared with only 19 per cent for hybrid positions.

Updated: July 19, 2023, 8:46 AM