Remote work is the norm, but not so much for leaders.

Almost one in three leaders (29%) are in the office every day of the week, compared with just 17% for non-leaders.

Our recent LinkedIn poll shows the vast majority of white-collar workers are still predominantly undertaking remote work. For leaders, however, the patterns are significantly different compared to the workforces they manage.

The impact of COVID on working modalities appears to be significant and long-term, with the majority of white-collar workers still spending the vast majority of their work week outside of the traditional office environment.

In a recent poll* almost two out of every three workers (61%) either work full time in a remote work location, or only go to the office on average one or two days per week.

The question we asked on LinkedIn was: ‘Many workplaces have now adopted a “hybrid” approach to where people are based for their work. How much time do you spend in the office?’. Only one in five work full time in the office, and just 19% work in the office three or four days a week.

This may be surprising to those that suggested large-scale remote work and particularly working from home was a pandemic-specific phenomenon. In the vast majority of developed economies globally, COVID vaccination rates are high, and anti-viral treatments have become both sophisticated and more frequently available.

Seasonal flu and COVID surges aside (the Southern Hemisphere is currently in winter), almost the entire of day-to-day life in North America and Europe is operating in a ‘pre-COVID normal.’ All except for where people are working from.

Importantly, there is a sharp dichotomy in the results for leaders and non-leaders across organizations. 50% of directors, CxOs, board members and presidents are either in the office full-time or spend an average of three or four days per week there. Almost one in three (29%) are in the office every day of the week, compared with just 17% for non-leaders.

Far less leaders spend just one or two days per week in the office than non-leaders (26% of leaders do this, yet 40% of non-leaders do, which was the most popular working modality for this group).

“These results show not only a development triggered by the pandemic, but a broader shift in working space paradigms,” explained Georg Unger, Managing Partner at NGS Global’s operations in Austria. “Younger people are no longer willing to spend five days a week in an office. Some of my clients faced this development even prior to COVID, and the vast majority are open to new working models. Quite a number of leaders still believe they need to be in the office five days a week, but a significant portion have gradually started to run their businesses remotely.”

Echoing this, the global online survey, which was completed by several hundred participants, did show some commonality between the two groups for those working remotely full time: 24% of both leaders and non-leaders work in this way.

*NGS Global

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    29 November 2023


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