Hot off the presses -- Owl Labs’ most recent pulse survey is out and it’s revealing some surprising insights into remote, in-office and hybrid work trends. We surveyed more than 2,300 full-time employees across the United States to gauge how workers are feeling about remote and hybrid work, productivity, coworking spaces, and work / life balance.

“Throughout the past two years, many employers and workers have adopted and employed a hybrid work model, however, hybrid work has continued to evolve and new issues and concerns will surface as the world changes,” said Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs. “When it comes to work environments, there’s no one-size-fits-all option that satisfies all employees, which is why hybrid work is the future, and this may look very different from company to company.”

Task-Based Hybrid Work Optimizes Productivity

Hybrid work is the future because there’s no one-size-fits-all option for work location that satisfies all employees. Owl Labs’ survey found that giving people the freedom to choose their locations based on their schedules and tasks can increase productivity. According to the data, the best types of work for remote locations include:

  • Independent work – 57% of employees say working independently in a remote location is more productive, while only 30% prefer doing solo work in the office
  • Creative thinking – About half of workers (51%) think more creatively when remote, versus 30% who prefer creative thinking in the office
  • Focusing – Nearly half of employees (49%) say they can focus better in a remote location, while 39% prefer to focus at the office
  • Meeting deadlines – Nearly half of workers (49%) can meet deadlines better remotely versus 31% who like to reach deadlines in-office

However, most workers still prefer to collaborate in the office, with these work tasks ranking highest for in-office productivity:
  • Meeting new people – 60% of workers like meeting new people in the office, while 17% prefer connecting remotely
  • Team meetings – About half of workers (51%) say team meetings are more productive at the office, while a quarter (25%) prefer joining team meetings remotely
  • Collaboration – Nearly half of workers (48%) collaborate more productively at the office, compared to a quarter (24%) who prefer remote collaboration

Employees are also split on certain tasks when it comes to location preference:
  • Learning – 43% of workers learn most efficiently when remote, while 39% prefer to learn in office
  • Brainstorming – 39% of workers are more productive when brainstorming and innovating at the office, while 37% prefer remote brainstorms

Brainstorming style has generational differences too, as Baby Boomers are significantly more likely to prefer in-office brainstorms, with 55% favoring them, compared to 40% of Gen Z and 39% of millennials.

Coworking Spaces Are a Happy Medium Between Home and Office

Many employees find they’re most productive working from a “third place,” like a coworking space, instead of their home or office. This may be a welcome preference for companies that are cutting real estate costs by providing employees with access to coworking spaces near their homes, instead of committing to long-term office leases amid economic uncertainty. Some companies, including Owl Labs, even include a stipend that employees can use toward membership at a coworking space of their choice.

The percentage of workers who say they’re most productive doing these tasks in a coworking space, as opposed to in the office or remote, include:
  • Collaboration – 26%
  • Getting consensus - 24%
  • Brainstorming – 22%
  • Team meetings – 21%
  • Managing others – 20%
  • Meeting new people – 20%
  • Learning – 17%
  • Creative thinking – 17%

Going to the Office Costs Twice As Much As Working Remotely

Impacted by inflation and gas prices, it costs employees more money to go to the office than work remotely – but they may not realize it. Nearly 1 in 3 (28%) think they should be paid more to work remotely, but employees spend twice as much money working at the office ($863 per month) compared to working remotely ($432 per month). Interestingly, only 14% of workers said they should be paid more for office work, and more than half (57%) said they should be paid the same regardless of where they work.

The top costs for in-office workers include: commuting ($15.11 per day), lunch ($14.25 per day), and breakfast / coffee ($8.46 per day). Additionally, workers who need pet care, such as dog walking, spend an average of $16.39 a day on it. Companies that want to bring workers back to the office this fall might try providing a stipend, free lunch, and pre-tax commuter benefits to help offset costs, as well as allowing pets in the office to reduce pet care costs.

Remote Work Improves Work-Life Balance

As more employees are now setting boundaries and “quiet quitting” to improve their work-life balance, it’s more important than ever for employers to offer remote and hybrid work options to reduce employee burnout and increase retention and morale. The majority of workers (58%) believe remote work is the best work style for optimizing work-life balance, while 26% think working in the office is best and 14% prefer coworking spaces.

To learn more about Owl Labs and its ecosystem of video conferencing solutions to help hybrid organizations stay better connected, visit