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Payroll data shows hybrid work is here to stay

Protocol Workplace

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: Gusto’s principal economist on why hybrid is here to stay, secrets of a chief recruiting officer, and data on the “Great Recognition.”

— Michelle Ma, reporter (email | twitter)

Why hybrid is here to stay

There are plenty of surveys about how employees and executives feel about hybrid, remote and in-office work, but what does the data tell us?

Liz Wilke is the principal economist at Gusto, a payroll platform startup that helps companies process payroll and manage other aspects of HR and benefits. I spoke to her about a new report from the company revealing that, in short, hybrid is no longer the exception but the expectation of workers across industries.

  • It’s in the payroll data. Gusto manages the payroll of over 200,000 small and medium-sized U.S.-based businesses, with many of them concentrated in tech, professional services and communications. These companies have anywhere from a couple to hundreds of employees. Gusto is able to analyze the real-time data on how businesses make hiring decisions, where employees live in terms of tax compliance and where the businesses are themselves. It also records when employees leave, and if that’s due to quitting or termination.
  • Employees are moving. The ones who used to live close to their places of work have moved farther out, with the median distance of employees’ homes from the office increasing by a mile since the pandemic began. At the same time, workers who used to live far from the office have moved closer.
  • Wilke interprets this dual movement as reflective of changing values around the office: People like working from home for heads-down, focused work, but they like the office for collaboration and social engagement. In short, they want the best of both worlds.

There’s been a massive uptick in workers who are fully remote, increasing by 240% since 2021.

  • Remote work benefits everyone, but women more so than men. According to Gusto’s data, women are disproportionately picking up remote work across all industries. Wilke attributes that to the fact that women disproportionately take on home and family care responsibilities, as well as more domestic work. “Women have always benefited from greater flexibility,” she said, and the transition to hybrid work has made that flexibility “more possible.”
  • Something else Gusto found in its data: Being fully remote is associated with a 9% to 13% decrease in odds of quitting within the first three months of hiring. Wilke views this as an opportunity for businesses to be more responsive to the things that workers really value, especially in the critical early months of a hire.

Despite all the evidence of the benefits of remote and hybrid work for employee productivity, engagement and retention, executives still want to return to the office.

  • Research from Slack revealed that three in four execs want to return to the office three days a week or more, compared to only one in three employees. 44% of those execs wanted to come to the office every single day (compared to 17% of employees). And in a recent Gusto survey, 85% of workers wanted at least one day out of the office, and 80% wanted at least two days out of the office.
  • What explains the disconnect? For one, the kind of work that executives do tends to be “in collaborative spaces,” according to Wilke. They’re meeting with other execs and team leads and doing the kind of big, strategic thinking that in-office work is conducive to. “I don’t think CEOs are immune to the bias that every human has: that we think of our experience as universal,” she said.

Secrets of a chief recruiting officer

When you hear “CRO,” you likely think “chief revenue officer.” But in the case of Rich Cho and talent-acquisition platform Gem, “CRO” stands for “chief recruiting officer.” My colleague Amber Burton sat down with him to talk about the lessons he’s learned while recruiting at some of the fastest-growing tech companies, including eBay, Meta and Robinhood. He also talked about why it’s important that recruiting sits in the corporate C-suite.

Read the full story.


The digital revolution is already here – transforming the way we live, work, and communicate. Smart infrastructure is a key part of this revolution. It brings the power of the digital world to physical components like energy, public transportation, and public safety by using sensors, cameras, and connected devices.

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Today's tips & tools

A lot of big productivity companies released new features this week. Here’s a quick roundup.

  • Calendly will let you screen meeting invitees. The scheduling app introduced “Routing Forms,” which will let users ask screening questions and point invitees to the necessary scheduling page. It’s available for people on the Professionals, Teams and Enterprise plans.
  • Figma has dark mode! The company released 15 new features across Figma and collaborative whiteboard FigJam as part of its 24-hour user conference.
  • Superhuman is on Outlook now. The email client was previously only on Gmail, which CEO Rahul Vohra attributed to building for Gmail-using startups. Now it’s building for larger companies that run on Microsoft Office 365.
— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email| twitter)

The Great Recognition

When was the last time you praised your employees? According to new data from the Achievers Workforce Institute, employees are three times more likely to recommend their manager if they’re praised by them.

  • 57% of those surveyed said that feeling recognized would reduce the likelihood that they would take a call from a headhunter.
  • 65% said feeling recognized would reduce their desire to job hunt.
  • 39% said they would be willing to job hunt to get their preferred working conditions, with the biggest reason for job hunting being career progression.

Making moves

StockX has appointed Damien Hooper-Campbell as the company’s first-ever chief impact officer, overseeing DEI, social and community impact and ESG. Previously, he was Zoom’s chief diversity officer.


The potential of the IIJA to shape our future is immense; if we don’t spend the funds wisely, the effects will be felt for generations. Physical infrastructure alone does not fully address the diverse needs of our modern, information-driven economy and set us up for future success.

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to workplace@protocol.com. Have a great day, see you Sunday.

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