Less than Half of CEOs are Back to the Office Full-Time; CEO Economic Outlook Plummets
JUNE 29, 2022 (New York City, NY) – Less than half of mid-market CEOs have returned to the office full-time and about a quarter plan to work a hybrid schedule indefinitely, according to the latest CEO survey from Marcum LLP and Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business.
The survey, conducted in mid-June, found that 48% of CEOs reported working in the office five days-a-week, while about 10 percent continue to work entirely from home. About a third – 32 percent – are back in the office three days each week or less.
Even as many employers increasingly seek to bring employees back to the office, the Marcum-Hofstra survey shows that the trend toward permanent remote work, particularly hybrid schedules, is being embraced by mid-market CEOs. For example, 77 percent of mid-market CEOs provide their employees a part-time remote option, and two-thirds expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.
While some CEOs cited COVID-19 concerns, many more said they prefer a hybrid schedule because they believe it increases productivity, while reducing commuting time and costs and providing better work-life balance.
“Whether it is COVID concerns or the impact of inflation and gas prices, it seems clear that remote work, and a hybrid schedule in particular, is the sweet spot for many CEOs and businesses,” said K.G. Viswanathan, interim dean of the Zarb School. “The specific reasons may change over time, but I believe this reflects a fundamental change in how Americans view work in the broader context of their lives.”
After remaining steady through the first half of 2022, CEOs’ economic outlook took a dive in the two months since the last Marcum-Hofstra survey.
The percentage of CEOs who rated their business outlook at an “8” or higher declined 10 points between April and June, to 34 percent. Those rating their outlook at a “5” or higher was down 9 points, to 74 percent.
CEO optimism took the biggest hit in the construction, financial institutions and services, healthcare and professional services industries. For example, just 11 percent of mid-market CEOs in the financial services industry rated their confidence at an “8” or higher, compared to 50 percent just two months ago.
“It is clear that the full-time, office-based work model has become a thing of the past and that CEOs as a whole are reimagining how their workforces should be structured. At the same time, they are having to adjust their business planning strategies in order to accommodate an increasingly dire economic outlook. This is an extremely challenging environment in which to plan, and it will require resilience and flexibility in order to determine how to deploy both human and financial resources most effectively,” said Jeffrey M. Weiner, Marcum’s chairman & chief executive officer.
IMPACT OF GAS PRICES
A large majority of CEOs (86%) said that the price of gas has had a direct impact on their companies, both on the cost of doing business and as a major contributor to employees’ reluctance to return to the office. About 29 percent said rising gas prices have eaten into their companies’ revenue.
CONTINUING IMPACT OF COVID-19
Just under two-thirds (62%) of CEOs said that COVID-19 remains a factor in their business planning, from supply chain problems to staffing issues, because employees contract the virus.
What CEOs said about how COVID-19 continues to impact their planning:
Employees and clients are still somewhat reluctant to have face-to-face meetings, which impacts revenue.
Having to work around situations where employees become infected and/or customers have different procedures for dealing with the issue. We have to adjust our work practices to match theirs.
The swings in infection rates make in-person staffing very challenging. We’ve had to cut operating hours due to staff availability.
RETURN TO WORK
Among CEOs who are still doing some remote work, just 10 percent said they have definitive plans to return to the office full-time. Another approximately 16 percent said they intend to go back to the office but are not sure when.
What CEOs said about why they elect to work remotely:
Convenience, lifestyle, peace of mind.
Cut down on gas prices, as well as trying to keep employees safe.
Easier, less stressful, more time with family.
I’m more productive when working from home.
About the Survey
The Marcum-Hofstra CEO Survey is a periodic gauge of mid-market CEOs’ outlook and their priorities for the next 12 months. The survey polls the leaders of companies with revenues ranging from $5 million to $1 billion-plus. The latest survey interviewed 254 mid-market CEOs.
It is conducted as part of the Zarb School of Business MBA curriculum, and developed and analyzed by Hofstra MBA students led by Dr. Andrew Forman, associate professor of international business and marketing, in partnership with Marcum.
“The Marcum-Hofstra CEO survey reveals that CEOs and their employees are undergoing a profound shift in where and how they work,” Forman said. “For students, these findings are instructive in portraying the importance of adaptability and resilience as essential traits for future business leaders.”
About the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University
Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business prepares students to become tomorrow’s global leaders. Located just 25 miles from New York City, Zarb students have access to internships and networking opportunities across every industry. The Zarb School combines entrepreneurial, hands-on learning and research with real-world experience and mentorship in state-of-the-art facilities, including a Behavioral Research in Business Lab, Center for Entrepreneurship, and academic trading room. Our undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, management and entrepreneurship, marketing and international business, finance, and business analytics are ranked and recognized by US News & World Report, Princeton Review, Pets & Quants and Fortune Magazine.
About Marcum LLP
Marcum LLP is a top-ranked national accounting and advisory firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurial, middle-market companies and high net worth individuals achieve their goals. Marcum’s industry-focused practices offer deep insight and specialized services to privately held and publicly registered companies, and nonprofit and social sector organizations. The Firm also provides a full complement of technology, wealth management, and executive search and staffing services. Headquartered in New York City, Marcum has offices in major business markets across the U.S. and select international locations. #AskMarcum.