Companies with flexible in-office policies are hiring faster than those that have fully returned to pre-pandemic attendance rules. But landing a flexible job still comes with challenges.

New research from Scoop Technologies Inc., which advises organizations on how to coordinate hybrid staffing, compared headcount growth at roughly 3,600 fully flexible, hybrid and entirely in-office companies. It found that flexible outfits — those with hybrid, fully remote or electively remote staffs — added headcount at more than two times the rate of fully in-office counterparts during the March-through-May period.

“Companies grow faster when they offer flexibility because people are more excited to join,” said Rob Sadow, co-founder and chief executive officer of Scoop. Prospective employees rank flexibility second only to compensation when it comes to workplace satisfaction, meaning that consistent headcount growth might be explained in part by talent flocking to flexible firms, he added.

The research also found a strong correlation between the number of in-office days required per week and workforce growth. Companies with one-day-a-week rules expanded staff by almost 5 percent over the past year, compared with 2.6 percent at five-days-a-week businesses.

“Companies should tread really carefully around expanding requirements to be in the office above three days because that’s where we start to see a pretty meaningful impact on ability to grow headcount,” said Sadow.

Despite the rise in hiring by flexible companies, job growth across the board is slowing. U.S. nonfarm payrolls expanded by 209,000 in June — the smallest monthly increase since the end of 2020 — indicating that the overall number of open roles is dipping while demand remains high. Jobs advertising full-time remote work attracted almost half of all applications on LinkedIn in May, compared with just 19 percent for hybrid positions.

Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg