Most CEOs think workers will be back to the office as normal soon

office worker hiding scared
(Image credit: / Pikhandina)

Most CEOs foresee employees coming back to the office for the traditional five days a week within the next three years, a new poll has claimed.

KPMG recently released its annual CEO Outlook survey for 2023, revealing nearly two-thirds (64%) of leaders around the world believe that by 2026, workers will be back to the office for the full working week. 

The Covid-19 pandemic forced office workers to work from home and since then, hybrid working practices have been adopted at many companies, allowing employees to come into the office for part of the week, or stay at home full time. 

Avoiding tensions

But of the 1,300 chief executives surveyed from the biggest firms in the world, most seemed to favor returning to the old ways of working life.

What's more, a vast majority (87%) believed that better pay and promotional opportunities would be on the cards for workers who came back in, as opposed to those who stayed at home.

However, chief executive of KPMG in the UK, Jon Holt, cautioned that a "one-size fits all approach" to requiring workers come in did not exist, and that "tensions between leaders and employers" could be created if it was tried.

He added, "issuing an ‘all hands on deck’ edict is a simple response to a complex issue – it won’t work for all businesses. Some sort of hybrid working is likely to remain a useful way to attract and retain the good people the CEOs know their business needs."

Big tech has already issued office working mandates, including companies like Apple, Amazon and Google. However, many of these workers have pushed back, illustrating Holt's point about employer/ employee tensions. 

In Holt's view, the solution is for “CEOs... to work collaboratively and carefully with colleagues” if they want them back in the office. In fact, working from home seems to be so important for employees that they would be willing to take a pay cut to do so forever - or even quit if they couldn't.

Andy Wilson, a Director at cloud storage firm Dropbox, believes that "deploying technology which enables seamless collaboration across multiple locations" is the way to ensure leaders don't favor office workers over remote ones. 

He also added that, "using the right AI tools across the business can enhance efficiency, foster productivity, and allow for geographical diversity, by enabling people to find what they need and keep work moving - no matter where they are based."


Lewis Maddison
Reviews Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Reviews Writer for TechRadar. He previously worked as a Staff Writer for our business section, TechRadar Pro, where he had experience with productivity-enhancing hardware, ranging from keyboards to standing desks. His area of expertise lies in computer peripherals and audio hardware, having spent over a decade exploring the murky depths of both PC building and music production. He also revels in picking up on the finest details and niggles that ultimately make a big difference to the user experience.