As pandemic restrictions lift and employers turn their focus back to productivity, remote work is becoming increasingly rare for millions of Americans. According to a Labor Department report, 72.5% of business establishments said their employees teleworked rarely or not at all in 2022, compared to 60.1% the prior year.
As employers push for more in-person collaboration, several large companies are now requiring employees to report on-site more often. Walt Disney Co. is advocating for four days a week on-site, while Starbucks Corp. asks office staff to come in more frequently. Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes it is easier to build trust in person and that relationships help teams work more effectively.
The Labor Department survey found that hybrid work arrangements—where employees split time between in-person and remote work—decreased across the private sector in 2022, with a particularly stark decline in the finance sector. The share of financial establishments operating hybrid dropped by half, from 44.9% in 2021 to 22% in 2022. This shift is largely attributed to the perception that innovation, creativity, and collaboration suffer when teams are apart.
Remote work was particularly rare in service-providing jobs such as retail, restaurants, and accommodations. Employment gains in those categories contributed to more employees working on job sites, with hiring in leisure, hospitality, and retail accounting for nearly 30% of the 7.7 million gain in private-sector employment since August 2021.
While remote work is becoming less common across most industries, it has persisted in some traditionally office-based jobs. In the information sector, which includes tech and media firms, 67.4% of establishments said staff worked remotely some or all of the time. In the professional and business sector, which includes law and accounting firms, the share was 49%. The Labor Department reported that the share of establishments that were fully remote rose slightly in 2022.
The decline of remote work is a response to employers’ desire for greater in-person collaboration and productivity. While some industries and jobs will maintain remote work options, it appears that the work-from-home era is coming to an end for most Americans.