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Expect ‘huge battles’ over working from home between employees and bosses soon, says Stanford professor who’s studied remote work for 20 years

By | Morgan Smith |

Flexible work arrangements have become non-negotiable for job-seekers and employees alike — so much so that people now value such flexibility as much as a 10% pay raise, according to new research from the WFH Research Project. But not all companies are on the same page as their employees when it comes to remote and hybrid work.

Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, co-founded the research team in May 2020 alongside Jose Maria Barrero, an assistant professor at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, and economist Steven J. Davis.

Their latest research, shared on Jan. 3, collected responses from more than 17,000 employees in the United States about their attitudes toward working from home versus returning to the office. 

About 50% of respondents who have worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic said they would prefer a hybrid schedule once the virus is under control. 

Although large shares of people prefer a remote or hybrid work arrangement, Bloom, who has studied remote work for nearly 20 years, tells CNBC Make It that he expects there to be “huge battles” between employees and managers over remote work in the coming months. 

Executives want more people in the office 

Most larger companies are led by older, white men – the group that least values working from home and has been the most vocal about the need to return to office, according to Bloom’s research. 

June 2021 report from Deloitte shows that white men make up about 62% of the boards of Fortune 500 companies. Other research — including a May 2021 report from Future Forum, Slack’s research consortium — has shown that white men are the most enthusiastic group to return to the office. 

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