ND Small Business Development Centers

Powering the creation, growth, and success of small business in North Dakota.

Where have all the Employees Gone?

The best part of my job is speaking one-on-one with hundreds of business owners and employers about the hurdles they face. At the top of that list, the workforce continues to be a hot topic. Business owners are worried, and rightly so, because they are struggling to find qualified candidates.

So where have all the employees gone? According to a 2023 Gallup survey (Gallup, Inc., 2023), they’ve gone home. If hiring, you should know that 29% of U.S. employees in remote-capable positions work from home full-time. 52% work in some kind of hybrid arrangement at home and in the office. Only 20% of remote-capable jobs work exclusively on-site. So roughly 80% of employees in remote-capable positions work from home in some capacity.

The survey then elaborates.

  • Six in 10 employees with remote-capable jobs want a hybrid work arrangement.
  • One-third prefer fully remote work, and less than 10% prefer on-site work.
  • Six in 10 exclusively remote employees say they are extremely likely to search for employment elsewhere if they are not allowed remote flexibility.
  • Three in 10 hybrid employees say they would seek employment elsewhere if remote flexibility was not allowed.

Look at the upside.

  • Remote and hybrid employees tend to have higher engagement
  • On-site employees show the lowest engagement levels

So, how often should hybrid workers come to the office? According to the survey, employees who worked 2-3 days on-site showed the highest level of engagement. Who should establish the hybrid work policy? The highest engagement was from teams who work together, but only 12% of employees benefit from this arrangement.

What does this tell us? Employees want to work remotely. If you’re currently hiring or will be hiring soon, now is the time to re-examine your recruiting and hiring policies. It’s quickly becoming apparent that competition for labor is just as fierce as for customers. If you want to compete for top talent, you have to be willing to explore fully remote or hybrid work arrangements. Your competitors are.


Gallup, Inc. (2023, July 11). Global Indicator: Hybrid Work - Gallup. Gallup.com. https://www.gallup.com/401384/indicator-hybrid-work.aspx



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