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Remote work illustration. (Knut/Adobe Stock) 23remotework

6.11.23 – Arkansas Democrat Gazette — Remote workers don’t want to surrender those freedoms, citing increased costs for issues such as child care, transportation and commute time, …

We may be headed for a struggle between workers and their employers as more businesses introduce return-to-work policies and more employees resist the offer.

Job market analyses note the overwhelming majority of workers favor the flexibility to work from home, with many willing to walk away from the job if office-reporting requirements are deployed.

Employee resistance to suiting up for the office comes as companies increasingly introduce requirements that workers be at their desks at least a few days per week. There has been a sharp rise this year in companies deploying structured-hybrid work models, used by about one in every three companies today.

Fully remote work structures have remained relatively constant at 7% of companies, according to a May 2023 report from Flex Index, which gathers information globally on more than 4,000 companies with 30,000 office locations.

Location flexibility is a factor in recruitment, with global business research and advisory firm Gartner reporting that more than 66% of job candidates who currently work onsite would prefer to work in a hybrid or remote model, while 97% of hybrid or remote workers prefer working in those models.

Structured-hybrid arrangements — when companies set specific expectations for when employees come into the office — continued gaining popularity in the current quarter, with 30% of companies reporting they use the arrangement compared with 20% in the prior quarter, Flex found.

It’s more difficult to find flexible work arrangements in Arkansas with Flex reporting the state has some of the nation’s least accommodating employers.

ResumeBuilder notes the hybrid trend nationwide likely will increase.

“It’s my belief that most companies will settle on hybrid schedules in the future, rather than ever demanding employees return to the office full-time,” Chief Career Adviser Stacie Haller said of the company’s report on hybrid work arrangements. “It’s been proven that most employees can be just as productive remotely, and being remote helps many better achieve a work-life balance, which is becoming increasingly important to Americans.”

That sets up a potential conflict between employers and employees over the future of work.

Work-from-home benefits increased in the past three years after covid-19 jolted conventional work arrangements, forcing companies to reconsider their traditional models and provide employees more flexibility in how and where they work.

At the same time, the pandemic altered employees’ expectations about having more freedom from the office — they want flexible arrangements that are permanent and freedom to avoid daily reporting to a specific work location.

Remote workers don’t want to surrender those freedoms, citing increased costs for issues such as child care, transportation and commute time, and they’re increasingly likely to switch jobs if they’re forced into a rigid work schedule.

A Gallup poll last year found that 60% prefer a long-term hybrid work arrangement and 90% don’t want to return to the office full time. Workers say they will drop out if flexibility is eliminated.

“Employees who don’t work in their preferred location have significantly lower employee engagement, alongside higher burnout and desire to quit,” Gallup researchers wrote of the findings. “They simply do not feel well-positioned to do their best work or live their best life.”

Along with Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana were the states less likely to find flexible-work schedules, according to the Flex Index. The friendliest states were Oregon, Washington and Colorado.


Technology, media and entertainment, and professional services are the leading industries providing remote arrangements.

Unsurprisingly, industries that rely on foot traffic and product production were the most rigorous in mandating daily attendance at a worksite. Restaurants and food services, retail and apparel, and manufacturing have the highest percentage of companies requiring full-time in office work.


Arkansas registered the highest percentage increase nationally in construction in April, according to the industry’s leading trade group.

The Associated General Contractors of America reports that Arkansas added 5,500 construction jobs, up 9.8% in April compared with the same month in 2022. Construction employed 61,900 in Arkansas in April 2023 and the state was one of 24 in the nation that added jobs in the industry from March to April with a gain of 1,100 workers. Arkansas ranked third in the nation in job gains over the month.

“Contractors continue to report strong demand for projects and have added employees in all but a handful of states over the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The fact that employment dipped in April in half the states may reflect an inability to find qualified workers at a time of record-low construction unemployment, not a slowdown in demand.”

Along with Arkansas, the strongest year-over-year increases were in Rhode Island, Indiana, Nebraska and Idaho. West Virginia recorded the largest percentage loss, with a 3.7% decline.