In the Shift to Hybrid Work, Don’t Overlook Your In-Person Workforce.
By Bhushan Sethi and Peter Brown
Business leaders are highly focused on the shift to hybrid and remote work right now, but they may be overlooking the in-person workforce—factory workers, nurses, delivery people, retail staff, and others whose jobs cannot be done remotely. According to PwC’s recent Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022, these workers are significantly less engaged and less satisfied than people who can work from home, and more than one-third of them may soon look for another job.
The survey, one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken, was conducted in the spring of 2022 and drew responses from more than 52,000 workers in 44 countries. Of the total base of respondents, more than 23,000 (or roughly 45%) do not have the option of working remotely—not because of company policies but because of the nature of their jobs.
Labor is an important priority in all market conditions, but it’s an essential one in the highly complex current environment. The challenges of the past few years have caused many workers to change jobs, change careers, or exit the workforce entirely. Labor constraints are having a dramatic impact on industries ranging from healthcare to airlines and hospitality. Moreover, as companies seek to transform and grow, they need to bring their people along—particularly those who have the institutional knowledge to help rethink processes and boost automation efforts. Given these circumstances, the vast in-person workforce is a key resource. If the people who show up to work each day at the office, the store, or the factory are not happy, companies are at real risk of losing them just when they need them most.
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Bhushan Sethi is an Adjunct Professor at NYU Stern.