The Uncoupling of Job Growth and Absorption by Hybrid and Remote Work Policies

At a time when companies are contending with the potential for a significant downturn, along with the increased preference by employees to work remotely — a trend further fueled by the pandemic, some companies may consider taking the path of least resistance by cutting costs and making employees happy by organizing remote work policies. Research shows the shift to hybrid, and the return to office, is still extremely complicated. Numerous companies have introduced iterations on remote work policies, from becoming fully remote to embracing some version of trusting white-collar workers to do what’s best for themselves. Hybrid means fewer in-person interactions, but not necessarily a sacrifice in culture. Corporations have been cautious about making a jump toward remote, due to elevated levels of turnover amid a slowing but still competitive labor market. But moving quickly to a required fully on-site arrangement could spark a percentage of workforce loss. Accommodating hybrid and remote workers has led to an uncoupling of job growth and absorption; and allows existing office space to work for many more employees. It’s also important to note that remote work isn’t necessarily tied to a reduction in space. Firms aren’t suddenly walking out on 95 percent of their space, but some are unloading and subleasing, while others are trading up to higher-quality office space.