A new survey suggests that a significant portion of remote workers today would in effect call their employer’s bluff if asked to return to pre-pandemic office life.
Released earlier this month, the survey by S&P 500 staffing firm Robert Half found that a full third of employees currently working from home would rather look for a new job than work full time in an office again.
Numerous tricky workplace policies and cultural shifts would need to take place before a significant portion of the workforce returned to some kind of full-time or hybrid office scenario, including increased feelings of safety around the vaccine and Covid-19 and newly enshrined and equitable remote work rules for employees.
As reported in HR Dive, the survey, which garnered results from 1,000 workers, found significant splits within the workforce, suggesting challenges ahead for corporate HR departments. Of the 1,000 working-age adults asked about their preferences, 28% were worried a fully remote scenario would weaken relationships with colleagues, and 26% said they felt less productive at home.
The third who feel comfortable bucking employer demands may have more marketable or in-demand skills, or may also be more senior; previous surveys suggested older workers were more comfortable with remote work.
The authors suggested companies try to bring remote workers back into the office with new policies, such as more flexible hours, relaxed dress codes, and most importantly, more support for childcare, a leading issue that drove workers, especially women, away from the workforce in 2020.