ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Hybrid or remote work? Not in Orange or Los Angeles County.
A new survey shows that most Orange and Los Angeles County companies want their employees to work full time in an office setting once coronavirus pandemic restrictions go away.
Robert Half, a global talent solution and consulting firm, found that 69% of senior managers in Orange and Los Angeles County surveyed would require their employees to work from their offices post-pandemic. Only 23% of senior managers said they would allow some hybrid, a combination of office and remote work, and the other 8% let their employees decide their work schedule.
Nationwide, 71% of the 2,800 senior managers who participated in the survey want their employees to come back to the office full time. The survey was taken from June 4 to July 1 before the sudden rise in delta variant cases.
Still, the survey gives a glimpse of the preferences of companies once the pandemic is over. And it is the complete opposite of employees' work preference. According to a survey done in April, Robert Half found that 75% of employees prefer a hybrid or full-time remote work experience.
"If you compare the two surveys, the most recent employer survey is opposite of what the workers want," said Cyndi Karapogosian, a district president based in Irvine at Robert Half. "In an environment where the war on talent is very, very high, this should be a cause for concern for employers."
The survey's release comes as the highly contagious delta variant sweeps across Southern California and halting many employers' return-to-the-office plans.
The most recent survey reflects the potentially growing disconnect between employers, many of whom sunk tons of cash on expensive office spaces, and employees who enjoy the freedom of working from home or remotely.
Surveys and several people on various social media outlets have said they would quit their job or find a new one if they had to come into an office every day.
Companies are grappling with a return-to-the-office plan for their employees, some of whom took advantage of the pandemic and moved to a tax-friendly state with no income tax, such as Florida or Nevada.
Google has created a company pay calculator to help companies determine how much they should pay a remote employee who moved out of the company's city and into a lower cost-of-living area. Most companies determine an employee's salary based on the cost of living in and around their headquarters.
Karapogosian has seen an uptick of companies in high cost of living areas that have gone fully remote hiring out-of-state candidates to save money.
"Employers in higher wage markets such as San Francisco are hiring people in those low-cost markets that are below the San Francisco rate but higher than in those lower-cost areas," Karapogosian told Spectrum News.
According to the Robert Half employer survey, the companies that preferred to have their employers work entirely at the office include finance sectors, technology, marketing, legal, admin support and human resources. Nearly seven or eight out of the 10 senior managers in these categories answered that they want their employees to work in the office.
The survey found that employers cited several challenges with managing hybrid and remote workers, including communications with team members, gauging workload, rewarding employee accomplishments, team development and trusting that employees are getting their work done.
Nationwide, the senior managers in companies in Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia were most amenable to allowing employees to work a hybrid schedule.
Karapogosian said as the pandemic continues, companies need to be flexible.
"Our reality is the bell has rung," she told Spectrum News. "People have been working from home for the past year and a half. You can't unring that bell. Employers need to be very, very open-minded and flexible, especially if they want to retain and attract the best talent in the market."