The concept of fully remote work might be losing support from employers, but it appears that
exclusively working in the office is not exactly thriving either, especially within some prominent
Digital media company Insider recently reached out to several renowned large companies to
understand their current office policies. Based on responses from Microsoft, Google, IBM, EY,
and McKinsey, hybrid work is on the rise.
There's a growing consensus that a middle-ground solution might be the best option: These five
major companies explained to Insider that they have all established some form of hybrid work,
often involving employees working remotely part of the time and in the office for the rest.
According to Gallup data, a majority of American employees capable of remote work prefer some
form of hybrid work arrangement over fully remote work. Some studies also highlight the
productivity and satisfaction differences between remote and in-person work modes.
Below are the policies presented to Insider by Microsoft, Google, IBM, EY, and McKinsey.
Microsoft - Its policy allows employees to adopt the most suitable flexible approach.
Microsoft is currently focused on a hybrid work model. "A policy empowers individuals, managers,
and teams to design the flexible hybrid model that works best for them," a Microsoft spokesperson
stated in an email to Insider. According to Daniel Howley of Yahoo Finance, if Microsoft employees
wish to spend over half of their time working remotely, they need manager approval.
"Given the diversity of roles, job requirements, and business needs we have at Microsoft, there isn't
a one-size-fits-all solution, but our hybrid model provides a crucial balance for employees between
remote flexibility and in-person engagement," the spokesperson mentioned.
The spokesperson noted that the company believes both hybrid work and flexibility will continue to
In a statement, the spokesperson said, "Time and time again, our external data tells us that people
want the best of both worlds: flexible work and in-person connection. Our inaugural Work Trend Index
report, based on external surveys of thousands of global employees, revealed what we call the hybrid
paradox: over 70% of respondents told us they want to retain flexible work options, while over 65%
expressed a desire for more in-person time with their teams. We see this trend in both our external
research and internal Microsoft employee surveys."
Google has been implementing a hybrid work policy for over a year now, according to Ryan Lamont,
a spokesperson for the company. In the past few months, this policy has become even more integrated.
Lamont told Insider in a statement, "Our hybrid approach aims to combine the benefits of in-person
collaboration with the advantages of working from home part of the week. Now that we've been
operating in this mode for over a year, we're formalizing this approach into all of our workplace policies."
The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Google employees' office attendance might be taken into
account during evaluations, and individuals who are frequently away from the office might receive
reminders. Lamont informed Insider that badge data wouldn't be shared with managers to gauge
performance but would be used to measure presence in the office over multiple weeks.
Google's Chief People Officer, Fiona Cicconi, wrote in a company email in a previous report, "We've
heard from Google employees that people who spend at least three days a week in the office are more
likely to connect with other Google employees, and this impact is even greater when team members
are working from the same location."
Alphabet Workers Union, Google's parent company, posted on Twitter in June, "Google announced that
they will start enforcing their remote work policy."
Chris Schmidt, a Google software engineer, mentioned in a post on Twitter, "Many teams are distributed,
and for some of us, there's no one at our physical office locations to collaborate with. He is also a member
of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA. He further noted, "Right now, there aren't even enough desks and
conference rooms for employees to comfortably use in our NYC office."
Schmidt continued, "One-size-fits-all policies won't address these situations. We should have a say in
shaping policies that affect our lives and establish clear, transparent, and fair working conditions for
all of us."
"At IBM, most of our employees collaborate at IBM offices or client locations and engage in regular
co-creation and collaboration in face-to-face settings," shared Nickle LaMoreaux, Senior Vice President
and Chief Human Resources Officer at IBM, in a statement to Insider.
According to IBM's communications, the company has adopted a phased approach to bringing IBM
employees back to the office. While almost all IBM employees were working remotely in March 2020,
managers are now leading workplace decisions for their teams.
An IBM spokesperson mentioned in a statement to Insider, "IBM's approach, both pre-pandemic and
now, has been centered on conscious flexibility, where collaboration is driven by teams and job-based
norms. This allows teams to determine flexible times that work best for individuals and when they
need to come together in face-to-face settings and what work they are doing. Managers design the
approach that works best for their teams, allowing their in-office time to be focused on collaboration
and co-creation. This flexibility benefits both individuals and teams in achieving their work."
Beyond the tech industry, some companies are also prioritizing hybrid work models, including
consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY).
Frank Giampietro, Chief Happiness Officer for the Americas at EY, told Insider, "EY in the US is
working with a design committee of around 100 people across our different business units to
really study the work they do and then try to design what types of interactions are required for
different types of work." Based on this, EY believes that most roles will involve spending 40%
to 60% of their time working in person with others. Giampietro explained that this in-person
time should be dedicated to what they call critical moments – building relationships and conn-
ections, learning on the job, mentoring, feedback, and true ideation and complex collaboration.
However, Giampietro pointed out that there are challenges to hybrid work when it comes to
meeting with clients, as some clients might not appear as frequently or might not want us to be
there as often.
"The company's initial thinking was assumption-based; now, based on the internal data EY has
gathered and other research, we believe that the hybrid way of working is the right way,"
"When people are in the office collaborating two to three days a week, they score higher on
flexibility and happiness metrics compared to those primarily on-site every day," Giampietro
Katy George, Senior Partner and Chief Human Resources Officer at McKinsey, told Insider, "To a large
extent, the consultancy is trying to let our individual teams decide what's best for them and their clients."
George stated, "We really encourage people to take advantage of the clear benefits of co-location as well
as the flexibility of virtual work, so we're really embracing a hybrid mindset."
George noted that McKinsey's analytics teams have found there's a "sweet spot" of about 50% co-location,
which for McKinsey employees means either in their office or at the client's office.
"Once you hit that 50% co-location, we see that feedback and satisfaction from clients goes up, we see
teams are happier and feel more connected. We also see retention rates increase, and we see people
getting better guidance and learning opportunities," George added.
However, George mentioned, "We don't see that the results continue to linearly improve with more and more
face-to-face work once you hit that 50% co-location." Given this, George stated, "On projects where you don't
need to collaborate heavily with others, there's encouragement for employees to take full advantage of virtual