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December 14, 2023

6 min read

Emburse Survey Highlights Long Distance Hybrid Work Expense Policies

56% of employers reimburse expenses for ‘hybrid super commuters’, including employees who travel up to 5,000 miles per week after moving away from their employer’s HQ during the pandemic

Los Angeles, and Portland, Maine — December 14, 2023 Emburse, a leader in travel and expense (T&E) management, revealed today the extreme commutes – many of which are paid for by the employer — that hybrid workers make, in order to maintain their preferred work/life balance. The findings are the result of a new survey of 120 corporate finance leaders. The data shows how far companies are willing to go to create in-office experiences for their employees.

Hybrid work, which requires some amount of working time to be spent in the corporate office, has accounted for significant commutes for workers who relocated during the pandemic. Surprisingly, the survey showed that many employees have moved far from their office, with fewer than half (43%) of hybrid workers having a weekly commute of 200 miles or less in each direction. A significant number of workers have relocated very far from their office, with 13% traveling more than 2,000 miles each way on a weekly basis, and the longest distance reported at 3,000 miles in each direction. These figures show the continuing preference among employees for the lifestyle afforded by hybrid work, a prediction made by the National Bureau of Economic Research in their spring 2021 research paper.

Whether a result of a desire to support these employees, or the result of a series of lawsuits in 2022 where workers fought for their right to continue to work from home, the data show that employers continue to support hybrid work. In fact, only 4% of survey respondents reported their organizations being fully back to the office and 1% reported being fully virtual. The vast majority, 95% of respondents, reported that they offer some type of hybrid work program for their employees.

However, there is significant variation in the policies defining hybrid work and how far organizations will go to support employees. Thirty-two percent (32%) have standard guidelines requiring employees to work in the office at least one day per week, while 48% leave it up to departments or managers to determine frequency, and 16% allow employees to choose how many days they work at home or in the office.

The big surprise revealed by the survey is that a majority of organizations (56%) reimburse travel and accommodation/meal expenses for employees who moved outside of commuting distance to the organization’s headquarters and are required to be in the office on a hybrid basis. Of the finance departments that reimburse travel and accommodation/meal expenses, 56% impose no cap on meal expenses, provided that they fit within the organization’s expense policy. Additionally, 63% have no cap on in-policy mileage or ground transportation expenses, and 65% have no cap on compliant hotel or airfare expenses.

“Despite return-to-office mandates capturing headlines, this survey shows that the majority of employers are embracing their employee’s desire to continue some amount of remote work,” said Eric Friedrichsen, CEO of Emburse. “Supporting hybrid workers - including ‘super-commuters’ - with flexible HR and expense policies is one way to recruit the best talent regardless of location, retain top performers, and give employees the flexibility and time to focus on the things that matter most.”

Key Findings

Longest distance traveled for hybrid/remote (each way)

  • 3,000 miles

Longest distance traveled for weekly hybrid commute (each way)

  • 2,500 miles

Most frequent distance traveled for hybrid/remote (each way)

  • 100 miles

Median distance traveled for hybrid/remote (each way)

  • 1,200 miles

Mean distance traveled for hybrid/remote

  • 604 miles

Organizations offering hybrid work

  • 95%

Hybrid - Require employees in the office at least one day per week

  • 32%

Hybrid - Require employees periodically in office as required by the organization/their manager

  • 48%

Hybrid - employees can choose to work as many days as they like at home or in the office

  • 16%

Reimburse travel and accommodation/meal expenses for employees who moved away and are no longer within daily commuting distance

  • 56%


This survey of 120 corporate finance professionals was distributed to customers of Emburse November 13-22, 2023. Organizations surveyed had employee populations of 1-10,001+.

About Emburse

Emburse makes expense management simple. Our expense, travel management, accounts payable, and payments solutions are trusted by more than 12 million professionals, including CFOs and finance teams, travel managers, and business travelers. More than 20,000 organizations in 120 countries, from Global 2000 corporations and small-medium businesses, to public sector agencies and nonprofits, count on us to manage expenses with ease, providing user-friendly tools and personalized support.

Our AI-based automation and mobile-first product approach eliminate manual, time-consuming expense submissions, approval and reconciliation. We deliver efficiency and time savings, increase financial visibility, enhance spend control and compliance, and improve the business travel experience. This empowers our customers and their teams to focus on what matters most in their personal and professional lives.

For more information visit emburse.com, or follow our social channels at @emburse.