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Most CEOs expect full office return in the next three years

Employees coming to office

A recent survey indicates almost two-thirds of CEOs expect a complete return to the office five days a week within the next three years.

The survey, called KPMG CEO Outlook, suggests many leaders believe pay and promotions might soon be tied to in-person attendance.

There’s a widespread adoption of hybrid work arrangements by office-based employers during the pandemic.

Read More: UK Companies Open Offices Outside City Centres For Hybrid Working

However, the survey finds that 64 percent of global and 63 percent of UK CEOs predict a full return to traditional in-office work by 2026.

The annual poll collected responses from over 1,300 chief executives of the world's largest companies, including 150 from the UK.


It suggests that executives increasingly support reverting to pre-pandemic working practices.

It's even more than three years after the pandemic initially forced remote work.

Moreover, the survey indicates strong support among business leaders for the potential linking of financial rewards and promotions to physical office attendance.

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Around 87 percent of global and 83 percent of UK CEOs express this belief.

Jon Holt, CEO of KPMG in the UK, said there is no “one-size-fits-all approach” to mandating a return to the office.

He noted that such a move could “create tensions between leaders and employers”.

He highlighted that some level of hybrid working will likely remain a valuable means of attracting and retaining talented employees.

It’s particularly for younger workers who began their careers during the pandemic.

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Holt noted the importance of CEOs working collaboratively and thoughtfully with their teams to navigate the complexities of returning to the office.

He also urged leaders to remember their responsibility to nurture and support the careers and well-being of junior staff.

Giants Amazon, Google, Meta, Citigroup and Lloyds have pushed for a return to the office.

It's to foster creativity, collaboration, and corporate culture.

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However, many employee surveys indicate that most workers have no desire to return to full-time in-person work.

Some have even suggested that they consider leaving their jobs if required to abandon their current workplace flexibility.

Experts in employment law caution CEOs to be mindful of the legal considerations associated with requiring employees to return to the office full-time.

They also warned bosses to ensure fair treatment of all workers to prevent potential discrimination claims.

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