Whether Remote, Onsite, or Hybrid, Here’s What Really Matters at the Best Workplaces in New York, Chicago, Texas, and the Bay Area

 Employees from Crowe walk together in matching purple shirts.
Employees at Crowe, the No. 1 large company on the Best Workplaces in Chicago List, value an inclusive culture where they can bring their true selves to work.

Best Workplaces Employee Well-being Leadership & Management

Where you work matters less than who you work for.

The debate over remote and hybrid work continues as companies like Nike blame a lack of in-person collaboration for lackluster business performance. Proponents of remote work argue more flexible options results in more well-being for employees, which in turn drives productivity.

When you look at the Fortune Best Workplaces™ in New York, Chicago, Texas, and the Bay Area, these companies dramatically outperform the typical U.S. workplace, regardless of their remote work policies.  

Research shows that although employees at a typical U.S. workplace benefit from remote work, that doesn’t make those companies great workplaces. What does? The level of trust employees have in their leaders and colleagues.

At companies on this year’s lists, employees report better relationships with their managers, a more psychologically and emotionally healthy work environment, and more work-life balance than at typical U.S. workplaces. As a result, these employees are more likely to stay at their company and adapt quickly to change — key outcomes for every business facing an artificial intelligence revolution.

“When we debate remote and hybrid work and its impact on workplace culture, we often ask the wrong questions,” says Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work®. “The Best Workplaces are constantly reevaluating efforts to meet the specific needs of their people. That’s what builds the trust that drives business performance.”

Co-creating workplace culture

The Best Workplaces ensure employees feel included in decision making. Eight in 10 employees (81%) at companies on this year’s lists agreed that management involved people in decisions that affect them. At the typical U.S. workplace, only half of employees (51%) say the same, a difference of 59%.  

Employees at winning companies are also more likely to say their manager shows a sincere interest in them as a person, not just a worker on the team.

More Employees Have Great Managers at the Best Workplaces Bar Chart

Great Place To Work research shows that companies benefit when they allow employees to have a voice in where they work, with typical U.S. employees being three times more likely to stay and 14 times less likely to “quit and stay” when they can choose where they work.

That doesn’t mean that remote work is a requirement for creating a great workplace culture. Regardless of whether remote work is a natural fit for your industry, employers build trust by solving for the specific needs of their people, and companies in every industry can and do create winning workplaces.

In practice, co-creating culture starts with listening. At Wegmans Food Markets, the No. 3 large company on the Fortune Best Workplaces in New York™ List, work life flexibility has always been part of the equation and a key reason the retailer says candidates choose Wegmans. For part-time employees, representing about 65% of Wegmans’ workforce, the company offers a variety of positions and shifts, where part-time employees can essentially define their availability to determine when and how often they would like to work.

For full-time employees, various surveys and employee listening channels revealed that a predictable, consistent day off each week would be helpful. While Wegmans’ retail employees still must work onsite at a Wegmans store, this scheduling policy allows them even more flexibility to plan for their personal needs, arrange childcare and schedule appointments.

A healthy workplace

Trust is more important for creating a healthy work environment than a remote work policy. 

Great Place To Work found that remote employees at typical U.S. companies were 19% more likely to report a psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace than onsite or hybrid workers.

But this year’s winning companies dramatically overperformed the typical U.S. employee experience, no matter where their employees work. At Best Workplaces, 88% of employees said they had a psychologically and emotionally healthy work environment, a 59% increase over employees who said the same at typical U.S. companies.

The result? Employees with these experiences are more likely to want to stay with their company long-term.

Healthy Workplaces and Great Managers Boost Retention Bar Chart

Work-life balance for every employee

 Best Workplaces excel at ensuring that every employee can maintain a healthy work-life balance, regardless of remote policies.

At companies on the list, 94% of employees say they can take time off when needed and 88% say managers promote a healthy work-life balance. At typical U.S. companies, only 75% said they could take needed time off, and 63% reported a healthy work-life balance.

Best Workplaces are differentiated by their determination to create a great experience for every employee, regardless of role or tenure.

“Being a For All Leader means being curious about how different groups of employees are experiencing your workplace,” says Bush. “Whether an employee is new to the company, part-time, or working the night shift, they all have human needs that employers can’t ignore.”

At Crowe, the No. 1 large company on the Fortune Best Workplaces in Chicago™ List, employees can access time off from the moment they are hired, which can be used for a variety of reasons from doctor’s appointments and vacations to mental health days and volunteering.

At Texas Health Resources, the No. 3 large company on the Fortune Best Workplaces in Texas™ List, non-exempt employees are given an extra day of paid time off each calendar year, called a “My Flex Day,” which can be used for any reason in addition to the traditional allotment of PTO days.

When you ask your employees about the specific challenges of their work, you can find many creative solutions to improve well-being.

At Camden Property Trust, the No. 1 large company on the Texas list, members of the maintenance team, which services properties for repairs, struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance because their job involves responding to after-hours calls for emergency maintenance. To meet the team’s needs, Camden implemented quiet hours for onsite maintenance teams, greatly reducing after hours calls, ensuring these workers could set aside time to rest and enjoy time with their families.

How to make the list

Think your company deserves special recognition? Get started here to become eligible for next year’s Best Workplaces honors.

Ted Kitterman