Agencies and brands are increasing the number of days they expect employees to work from the office ahead of the new year, as corporate leadership pushes for a return to in-person work.
Deutsch LA, Nike, Chipotle and BlackRock plan to increase the number of required in-person days for staff beginning in January.
The new mandates follow a push for a return to in-person work that ramped up this summer, which saw companies from Amazon, to Publicis Groupe to Meta put in place firm requirements around in-office attendance and threaten repercussions for those who don’t comply.
As the new year fast approaches, more companies are doubling down on these mandates and attaching more days to in-office requirements.
On the agency side, starting in 2024, Deutsch LA will require employees to go into the office three days a week, up from a two-day requirement established in 2022, Campaign US has learned. Employees must be in person from Tuesday to Thursday, according to leadership, as opposed to just Tuesday and Wednesday. Deutsch LA declined to comment further on the matter.
Meanwhile, creative agency Mother said it no longer has fully remote employees in the U.S. and will require anyone who lives far from one of its office locations to relocate within a few months of being hired.
Meanwhile, in October, Nike announced it would increase its in-office mandate from three to four days per week starting in January. The change comes after it began requiring employees to come to the office three days per week in May 2022.
In a statement to Footwear News, a Nike spokesperson said the choice to increase in-person requirements stems from “the power and energy that comes from working together in person,” which Nike “aims to create” more of.
Elsewhere, Chipotle and BlackRock have also bumped up in-person days from three to four, according to Fortune.
The trends reflect a gradual push into what executives hope will result in a full return to in-person work, five days a week, by 2026, according to a survey of more than 1,300 CEOs by KPMG. Per the survey, published in September, 64% of executives believe there will be a full return to office by 2026. Only 7% of CEOs believe fully remote work will be the norm long-term.
So far, the pressure tactic has been somewhat successful – hybrid work has now become the standard way of working, and office occupancy rates currently stand around 50%, according to data from building security firm Kastle Systems.
But getting employees back in the office full-time may prove challenging. According to a Campaign US survey run in August, most employees in the advertising, PR and marketing industries disagree or strongly disagree with enforcement efforts. Most respondents also prefer non-mandated hybrid policies or fully remote work.
And employees are holding the line. After LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr ended its remote work policies and forced remote employees to relocate in September, nearly half of its staff left, choosing to accept severance packages over moving closer to the nearest “hub.”
An annual survey and research report from marketing tech company We Are Rosie, released last week, also shows that a whopping 77% of the talent in marketing and communications roles said they prefer to work remotely.
Of the 1,000 individuals surveyed, those who said that their job moved from fully remote to hybrid or completely in-office work said they’ve had to adjust their budgets to pay for commutes, child and pet care costs and other expenses (60%), spend money on a new wardrobe (59%) and cut back on hobbies and volunteer work because of commuting time (47%) — all factors they cited as pain-points for returning to in-person work.
Nearly half of employees say they are willing to quit or begin looking for a new job immediately if their employer mandated a full-time return-to-office policy, according to an August report from the Integrated Benefits Institute.
And while employers seem ready to test the waters, employees are also saying – “you’re on.”