FM:Systems Study Finds Most Business Leaders Want to End Alternative Work Arrangements, Return to Full-Time Office Attendance

60% of business leaders want employees back in-office five days a week

37% of organizations plan to expand their real estate footprint in 2024

57% of respondents report sustainability is a higher priority than last year

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — FM:Systems, the provider of the most scalable and intuitive all-in-one workplace management platform, today released the results of its 2023 Inside the Workplace survey. The study, which surveyed 549 U.S. business leaders in facilities, real estate, finance, and HR, reveals six new workplace trends and priorities for 2024 and beyond – from an increase in business leaders wanting employees in the office full time to real estate and workplace experience optimization strategies.

Employers were forced to embrace a remote work environment in response to the pandemic. As lockdowns eased, many companies transitioned to hybrid work arrangements. Now, the Inside the Workplace survey finds that 60% of business leaders want employees in the office full time within the next three years. The survey also indicated that half of respondents said workers are spending more time in the office now than they were a year ago, with 54% attributing the rise of office attendance to mandates from management and 44% crediting initiatives to incentivize employees to spend more time in the office. Strengthening company culture emerged as the top reason behind the push for employees to return to the physical office full time, with 46% admitting they believe workers perform better in the office.

“Our Inside the Workplace survey confirms what we’re seeing in news headlines about business leaders growing impatient with alternative work arrangements: not all, but many business leaders are eager to have employees back onsite five days a week, and likely were never ready to embrace alternative work arrangements in the first place,” said Kurt von Koch, CEO, FM:Systems. “While a full-time office work environment may work well for some organizations, office mandates are unlikely to motivate employees back full time. Instead, building a high-performing workplace and a great culture requires understanding how people work best in the context of their organization’s unique set of workplace needs. Only quality workplace data can guide organizations if and how they can strategically bring people into the office.”

The shift back to full-time onsite office work may help explain why 37% of respondents to the survey plan to expand their real estate footprint. The survey also identified that organizations are prioritizing workplace attributes that reflect the reasons many employees prefer remote and hybrid working. More than half of respondents said that having an office that is centrally-located to most employees – to reduce commute times – is important. Forty-five percent of organizations prioritize a workplace that’s close to amenities, a nod to helping workers maintain the work-life balance and sense of autonomy they enjoy working from home. Other workplace priorities, like quiet rooms, nap pods, and easy access to outdoor spaces, also point to organizations having learned lessons from the remote and hybrid work era that they’re now ushering out.

“Business leaders need insight into which initiatives will be most impactful, whether that’s improving indoor air quality, installing quiet rooms, or something else,” said Brian Haines, Chief Strategy Officer, FM:Systems. “You need to understand how your employees interact with the workspace before you can optimize it for return-to-office.”

Additional key findings from the 2023 Inside the Workplace report include:

Sustainability is a higher priority for organizations now than it was this time last year. Taking steps to address climate change has long been a matter of brand preservation and, more recently, talent retention and recruitment. The proliferation of regulations like NYC Local Law 97 to address greenhouse gas in NYC, as well as forthcoming new Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements, are compelling companies to ramp up and formalize their sustainability initiatives.

  • 57% of respondents reported that sustainability is more of a priority this year than at the same time in 2022.
  • Among organizations that have established a net-zero goal, expanding their real estate footprint is their top priority (44%). Only 25% of these respondents indicated that they are considering downsizing their portfolios.

Adoption and use of workplace management solutions continues to expand. With the increased influence of sustainability on businesses of all kinds, as well as the continued fluidity of work arrangements, more and more organizations are deploying workplace management solutions to help them navigate the changes.

  • Nearly 7 out of 10 organizations currently use a workplace management solution.
  • Business leaders deploy workplace management solutions primarily to improve efficiency (40%), reduce costs (20%), and bolster security (15%).
  • Among organizations planning to implement workplace management solutions in the next year, most are focused on space management and planning (40%), workplace analytics (36%), and workplace sensors (33%).

Adoption of advanced technologies is especially high among organizations that plan to expand their real estate footprint. Expanding their real estate footprint over the next few years is a top priority for 35% of organizations, but many of these businesses are also looking to reduce expenses. Deploying advanced smart building tech may help them do both.

Among companies that are planning to expand their real estate portfolio:

  • 4 out of 5 currently use a workplace management solution.
  • 64% plan to deploy generative artificial intelligence to assist with operations and maintenance within the next year.
  • Half intend to deploy digital twin technology within the next year.

Full Inside the Workplace report results can be viewed here.

Methodology: This research was conducted by PureSpectrum on behalf of FM:Systems from Nov. 15 to Dec. 12, 2023, and comprises responses from 549 U.S. business leaders in facilities, real estate, finance, and HR.

About FM:Systems
FM:Systems’ all-in-one workplace management platform helps more than 1,200 of the world’s largest organizations access, manage, and measure every aspect of their real estate portfolio. With the most complete range of intuitive and scalable space management, hybrid work, workplace analytics, and smart sensor solutions, FM:Systems helps customers gain the data-backed clarity and vision necessary to make strategic real estate decisions and deliver high-performance workplaces today and long into the future. For more information about FM:Systems, please visit FM:Systems is now part of Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), the global leader for smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings.

Media Contact:
Andrea Oliveira
(458) 206-6478