Note: Today’s article relies heavily on an excellent survey published by Owl Labs, a videoconferencing tech vendor on the State of Remote Working. We have put the link to the actual survey at the bottom of this article.

Many employers are fighting to get their workers back to full time at their desks, as many employees remain in a state of denial and resistance about returning to the office. Employees truly believe the job is getting done from home and are satisfying in-office requirements by showing up long enough to get credit for being at work. This relatively new phenomenon is called Coffee Badging.

According to the Owl Labs survey which polled 2,000 full-time US workers, 58% of hybrid workers said they are coffee badging to meet the minimum in-office requirement each week. That’s a high number bound to aggravate thousands of companies. And evidence that everyone back to work has not taken hold.

Companies such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Nike, BlackRock, Meta, Salesforce, and Zoom are working hard to entice their employees to return to the office full time. But until that happens, companies are monitoring both the situation and the engagement of their employees using technological means.

Unfortunately, monitoring technologies have not proven to be terribly reliable and don’t tell the whole story. Monitoring techniques track activity— not important outcomes that impact the business. The incomplete picture monitoring gives of an employee’s commitment, continues to frustrate employer efforts to gauge any drop off in performance. So… the standoff continues.

The Owl Labs survey revealed what we all feel. US workers don’t want to spend time and money on frequent office visits. One in three said they spend 30-45 minutes commuting one-way to their offices.

Hybrid workers spend an average of $408 per month while full-time workers spend $1,020 per month. Essentially, full-time, in-office employees spend nearly three times as much as full-time remote workers, according to Owl Labs. No doubt about it, working from home saves money.

Then there is the commute. On average, according to a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, employees save 72 minutes in commuting time every day when they’re allowed to work from home rather than in the office.

Here is an interesting tidbit that may or may not move the goal posts in this contest. According to a report on CNBC, as many as 90% of employers want everyone back at their desks by the end of 2024. We shall see.

Our takeaway is this. This war is not over. With good work performance employees are making it harder and harder to compel them back to work and the benefits of working from home are undeniable, particularly in terms of cost. Our Thought Leadership Team will keep an eye on this for you and keep you posted as the battle rages on.

Here is a link to the complete Owl Labs Survey which is quite revealing. We thank Owl Labs for nothing less than a fabulous update on where remote work is headed.

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