Fortune: We polled CFOs to find out what they really think about going back to the office

May 26, 2021

WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani recently made headlines and sparked some controversy for saying at a Wall Street Journal event that “uberly engaged” employees want to go into the office at least two thirds of the time, while employees who are least engaged at the job are comfy working from home.

Originally posted on By Sheryl Estrada.

But many CFOs prefer that employees not return to a fully in-person work environment post-COVID. Flexible or hybrid, however you’d like to describe it, that’s their desired game plan.

Fortune and NewtonX, a B2B market research company, worked together to conduct our first-ever CFO survey between April 27 and May 5. The 75 CFOs surveyed work at U.S. companies of all sizes in industries including banking, asset management, healthcare, construction, energy, retail/e-commerce, to name a few.

More than a third of CFOs expect to return to a fully in-person workforce post-COVID, but just 25% prefer that working arrangement. About 33% prefer one to two days per week in the office, and 37% prefer three to four days in the office. So, 70% of CFOs want greater flexibility in days worked in the office.

What CFOs really think about the future of work - Graph 1 - What Post-COVID work arrangement CFOs prefer vs. what they expect

Currently, 83% of respondents at companies with a hybrid in-person and remote workforce have flexible in-person days. Before the pandemic, 93% of respondents said most employees worked fulltime in the office.

But hybrid work arrangements with flexible in-person workdays benefit CFOs, too.

The majority of respondents said that it reduced their personal work-related expenses, like apparel. And they said it was less stressful to maintain work/life balance and personal autonomy when working remote.

The CFOs, however, also noted a challenge to hybrid work environments — networking, socializing, and team building are harder. Creating a common culture on a virtual call can be tricky. About 44% of respondents said they’d like to organize in-person work periods by team department or project.

Although many CFOs prefer greater flexibility, they’re focused on the bottom line: When asked what change in compensation they’d accept in return for a preferred post-COVID work environment, 83% said they wouldn’t accept any reduction in total compensation.

Eager for more learning? Join VP of Strategic Insights and Analytics, Patiwat Panurach, as he unpacks the learnings of 75 CFOs from the latest NewtonX Current research report, conducted in collaboration with Fortune.

Download the webinar recording today. 

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