Despite younger employees preferring to work from home, most CEOs in Southern Africa want their staff to return to the office in the next few years.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work skyrocketed as it ensured that work could still be done while staff were kept safe.

However, according to KPMG’s Southern African 2023 CEO Outlook, this is slowly changing, with 72% of Southern African CEOs stating that they support a return to in-person work within the next three years.

The remaining respondents said that they believe in a hybrid or remote way of working. This is in line with global CEOs, with 64% expecting a full return to work.

Despite this, 87% of CEOs in Southern Africa said they are willing to incentivise and provide employees who come to the office with favourable assignments, raises and promotions as the younger workforce enjoys the autonomy and flexibility of remote work.

“Although this is the sentiment across Southern Africa, it is crucial that leaders remain supportive in their approach that considers the needs of employees whilst embracing employee value proposition,” KPMG said.

Already in motion

According to data from Lightstone, a larger amount of workers are returning to their offices around the world – and the same is true in South Africa.

In the Sandton CBD and other northern areas of Johannesburg, there is an increasing number of visits to offices for more than two hours – even if it is not back to pre-Covid levels.

In August 2023, roughly 55% of trios lasted more than two hours. This is greater than the 50% in 2022 but still down from the 60% seen in 2019.

“The numbers suggest people are returning to pre-Covid work patterns but are not quite there yet,” Lightstone said,

“The patterns differed slightly depending on what day of the week it was, with most office visits taking place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the least office visits taking place on Fridays.”

Source: Lightstone