1 day a week in the office


From Bloomberg:

A full 50% of office visits globally were just once a week in the second quarter, up from 44% in the first quarter, according to data from Basking.io, a workplace-occupancy analytics company. At the same time, fewer people made the commute four to five days a week, especially in large cities.

I’m surprised that the norm here is 1 day a week. Right now I assume that most people live close enough to an office to make this work and are basically coming into the office to have all their 1/1s in person.

I think the longer term equilibrium for jobs that can be remote is going to be ~1 week per quarter mandatory in person together with the rest distributed. I do think that some people will choose to go in more often, especially if there is a critical mass of people that live nearby.

We’ll see!

Is the great resignation over?


That is the subject of my latest Browser Bets episode with Andrew Flowers of AppCast.

Here’s a snippet:

Andrew: The quits rate in the US had an all-time high of three percent in November of last year, that's the latest data we have. So what does that mean? It means in November three percent of all workers quit their job and in the 20 years that the bureau of labor statistics has been tracking this that's the highest point. My bet in quantitative terms is that the quits rate in the US by the end of 2022 is going down below two and a half percent which is where it it peaked before the pandemic.

I respect Andrew a lot, but I actually think he’s wrong here. I mention this in the show, but I’ll say it more succinctly here. I think three things are going to keep this number high for the rest of the year:

  1. A structural shift towards remote work. I’m on the record as thinking that back-to-the-office is never going to happen for a certain categories of workers. But adjusting to this new normal is going to take time and some employers are going to try to force employees back… and these employees are going to quit to take jobs that allow for more flexbility.

  2. The retirement of the Baby Boomers. This is simply a demographic tailwind, perhaps pulled forward by employers trying to enforce return to work (if you’re going to retire in 6 months anyway, do you really want to commute again?)

  3. Remote jobs will have a higher natural quit rate. If you’re a remote worker, there’s way less friction in quitting a job. There’s no new commute, there’s minimal disruption in your schedule. You get shipped a new computer and log in to different video calls. For remote first workers, it’s going to be easier to hop between jobs and this will show up in the numbers.

Only time will tell who is right. You can join in on the bet here.

2021: The Year That Was and Wasn’t


I contributed to a piece for the The Morning News about what 2021 will be known for and what we thought it would be known for, but didn't pan out.

My prediction for what we'd remember the year for is the breakout of electric vehicles. From the piece:

2021 was the year that the electric car won . Electric-car makers have sky-high valuations and traditional car makers are plunging billions of dollars into electric-car manufacturing and telling markets that 40 percent or more of their sales will come from electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

I almost had commercial fusion energy in this spot, but decided the evidence for it actually happening isn't strong enough yet.

For what was supposed to happen, but didn't pan out, I had return-to-office. I go on to predict that return to office will never really happen for most workers.

Covid is going to continue to cause havoc over the course of 2022 and 2023, whether it's additional variants or concern about breakthrough cases. While this will diminish over time, by the time it does, any job that doesn't explicitly require the worker to be in person will have moved to remote-first by default and any company that tries to buck this trend will be at a disadvantage in the marketplace.

Omicron, of course, is an example of how return-to-office will continue to be delayed. Eventually it will get too hard for companies to put the genie back in the bottle.