What Will the Workplace of the Future Look Like?

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Stephanie Ferguson and Isabella Lucy
February 14, 2024
Explore the numbers behind recent trends in remote work, the migration of workers, and the future of commercial office space in this data deep dive on the future of the workplace.
The workplace is changing as rapidly as the U.S. workforce. For many workers today, their physical work environment is no longer bound by in-person attendance, designated corporate headquarters, or bustling cities.
Meanwhile, the share of Americans in the workforce is shrinking, resulting in the need for employers to compete for distant talent; the cost of living is rising, spurring an urban-to-rural migration phenomenon; and many office spaces remain vacant, catalyzing an economic cascade in American cities.
Here we examine the evolving dynamics of America’s workplaces and share insights on what businesses need to know.
The Past, Present, and Future of Remote Work
According to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research, remote work hit its peak amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Although remote work has dropped precipitously since then, workers’ preference for workplace flexibility remains.
In 2023, just a quarter of all employees worked remotely part of the time. While this is a small number compared to the pandemic high, it still towers over the pre-pandemic norm, indicating the permanence of some remote work in the years to come.