‘Flexibility is the new compensation:’ DRC breaks down workplace trends

Workplace trends indicate the direction the business world is heading, and monitoring those trends can help companies take action to stay competitive in recruiting and retaining talent, said Jessica Heer, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Talent Attraction at the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC).

The DRC conducted a Future of Work survey of its members in May 2023 to better understand the workplace arrangements of companies in the Dallas Region. Alongside other industry data, the survey reveals workplace trends from the talent and employer perspective—and how workplaces are evolving in response.

“In the Great Resignation, we watched talent take more power in the hiring and talent retention landscape,” Heer said. “The exodus trend continues, but it’s much lower than the height in 2021. In the aftermath of the Great Resignation, workers still have heightened expectations, but we’re starting to see a shift.”

Insight from DRC member BGSF, a workforce solutions provider, shows job candidates are prioritizing hybrid and flexible workplaces above all else when considering a job opportunity. BGSF’s findings are complemented by a pulse survey conducted by Future Forum in late 2022, which showed remote and hybrid workers cite flexible work policies as the primary reason their company culture is changing for the better.

“In our work with job candidates across numerous industries, we’re seeing that flexibility is the new compensation,” Troy Chapdelaine, Managing Director of Strategic Recruiting Solutions at BGSF. “Candidates are asking about hybrid and flexible work arrangements in interviews before they bring up compensation—though they still expect strong compensation, in addition to great company culture with career advancement opportunities.”

DRC’s 2023 Future of Work survey indicated 85% of respondents are offering flexible work schedules, as well as hybrid and remote work. In most cases (38%), hybrid working arrangements are determined at the team level, though company-led schedules are close behind (31%).

Though many workplaces have responded to talent’s valuation of flexibility in both schedule and work location, employer in-office requirements are on the rise. According to CBRE Group’s spring 2023 U.S. Office Occupier Sentiment Survey, 65% of employers are requiring some level of in-office work, while 40% are planning to ramp up their office attendance requirements.

Notably, AT&T recently announced plans to have managers return to the office while simultaneously consolidating the company’s footprint into nine core offices, including its Dallas headquarters.

“This is a trend to watch,” Heer said. “By AT&T joining the rise of in-office work, we’ll likely see more companies start to follow suit and increase their in-office work expectations for employees, and we know from CBRE’s data that 67% of employers are placing more importance on quality of the working environment than they did pre-pandemic.”

As the scales start to tip toward prioritization of in-office work, companies are morphing workplaces into live-work-play locations with spaces to learn, collaborate, and celebrate, and health, wellness, and convenience amenities.

“The trend toward on-site amenities could be viewed as a strategy to try and maintain the positive culture and work-life balance shifts that come with flexible and hybrid working arrangements that we know help retain talent while still shifting back toward regular in-office work,” Heer said.

As companies navigate workplace trends and the evolving landscape, the DRC offers numerous resources to help attract and retain talent, including Best Place for Working Parents® Dallas and the Say Yes to Dallas talent attraction campaign.