Employees: Give Us Remote Work Permanently, or We’ll Quit

Would you quit your job if your office didn’t offer you remote options, even after the COVID-19 pandemic fully subsides?

That’s a key question that employees and managers may need to confront in the months ahead. According to a poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News, some 39 percent of U.S. adults would potentially quit their jobs if their employer didn’t offer some flexibility around remote work. When broken down by age, some 49 percent of Millennials and Gen-Zers felt the urge to quit without remote options. 

Surveys over the past 15 months have illustrated how technologists generally want a hybrid schedule over a full-time return to the office, given the choice. Last summer’s Dice Sentiment Survey, for instance, found that technologists prized the flexibility, productivity, and cost-savings that come with working from home at least a few days per week. While many technologists also liked the idea of working remotely full-time, sizable percentages enjoyed the connection and camaraderie of the physical office enough to prefer a hybrid schedule. 

Other studies have shown that technologists are anxious about heading back to the office full-time. A recent survey by Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists about a range of issues, found that, of those with a dependent at home, some 54 percent needed a flexible hybrid schedule to meet their personal obligations. At least in the short term, many technologists are also concerned about health and safety protocols within the office, such as requirements about vaccinations and masks. 

Finally, many technologists feel they’ll be less productive in the office than at home. From meetings to “deep work,” teams everywhere have adapted to working remotely, and fear that returning to a physical office will reintroduce old distractions.  

Of course, that doesn’t mean that managers’ concerns about remote work should be completely ignored. For all the benefits of remote and hybridized work, it does come with some potential drawbacks, including (and definitely not limited to) communication issues, unreliable internet connectivity, difficulty accessing vital data and delivering effective IT support, and cybersecurity

For companies, the next few quarters could present some challenges and opportunities. If they have no intention of offering remote and hybrid work once the pandemic subsides, they could risk losing technologists who see working from home at least part of the time as a “must have” benefit. If these companies still insist on bringing technologists into the office five days per week, they should determine policies to make the workforce as comfortable as possible—whether that means more flexible schedules, heightened health protocols, or designated “no meeting” days.

For those companies dedicated to remote and hybrid work, there could be increased opportunities to recruit technologists leaving those organizations that insist on in-office work. In fact, remote work could boost the ability to recruit one-of-a-kind talent from pretty much anywhere in the country. One company’s loss can easily become another’s gain. 

15 Responses to “Employees: Give Us Remote Work Permanently, or We’ll Quit”

  1. You know this basically comes down to introverts vs extroverts, right? Introverts are absolutely, 100% fine working from home and are fully capable of getting what needs to be done, done. Extroverts need other people around to function so they’re going to demand everyone back into the office for ‘company culture’ or whatever other nonsense.

    • GetReal

      Dear Employer: You are screw in so many ways if we leave. Try thinking this time before you act: 1)You need to go through you 500 resumes of those so desperate to work they will put up with an uncaring attitude and culture like yours. 2) You will find someone who will put up with your short sited attitude because they are so unskilled or ineffective that they have to. 3. You will have to spend time an money training for years? to get to the level of performance of the employee who just left. 3) Ultimately you will end up with a company of losers (like it’s management) and find you ass kicked by the companies who actually care about their employees, have the brains to leverage enabling technology that not only allows remote work but optimizes communications, performance, and customer service but build trust and teaming in ways others who haven’t tried say can’t be done. Take it from someone who knows. When I left AT&T I took with me $40M in revenue that went from AT&T to my new company over the next 5 years while working in a hybred remote/office mode.

      • Michael Ellis

        Agree utterly with what GetReal said. Companies taking the snide attitude can enjoy looking through 500 crap resumes full of smoke and mirrors while your actual experienced devs run away to live happier lives.

      • Nonsense, Inderjeet the manager will just call up his cousins in Hyderabad and get 600 inflated resumes from Telegu speakers of the right caste within a day or so.

        When work visas are plentiful, just about every tech employee is replacable.

  2. My experience of working at monolithic empires:
    No amount of “free” food compensates for the unpaid time of driving – more like crawling – through traffic.
    The bus schedules are no better than driving, and buses on various routes randomly break down every week.
    The crowding and constant noise in the cafeteria style “work stations” does not support productivity.
    The meeting rooms are always booked, so you end up having remote meetings on campus.

    About the duration of training:
    There is no training. Even without the threats of the experienced employees, there is a tendency for the staff to frequently drift to other departments, with no handover process, no knowledge base, nothing.

    About experienced employees:
    Are there any employees? Looking at the badges, many, often most, are contractors who will never receive a raise and have no chance of promotion, regardless of the duration of the contract.

    • Yo Eddie

      So, so true on all points. Employers and by deference managers generally don’t care. Generally they train so they can get rid of the trainers or those who transfer their knowledge too.

  3. Totally agree with GetReal and others supporting all remote WFH. IT ‘management’ (and I’m using the term ‘management’ loosely) is one of the most clueless and gullible demographics in today’s world. Let them sift through the 500 resume of the desperate and they’ll end up with exactly what they deserve.

  4. Walker

    This is why I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a labor shortage. Or at least anything caused by unemployment payments. People don’t want to work because they don’t like their place of employment. Pay at Chipotle or Starbucks might be relatively low, but it’s also Chipotle and Starbucks. They aren’t “good” jobs. Meanwhile, people with good jobs don’t want to go to work either.

    I think it’s more about being annoyed with a capitalist economy than just pay or just working in the office.

  5. Ano Neemus

    A 1.5 hour round-trip daily commute means you spend 7.5 hours commuting this week. That’s 390 extra hours of commuting in a given calendar year — time that you’re effectively donating, free of charge, to your employer. Regardless of what your annual salary is, that means you’re putting in 18.75% more time than you’d need to if you didn’t have to commute.

    In addition, not all companies subsidize the net cost of employees’ commute. If you’re driving to work, companies might not pay whatever gas + parking costs each month; if you’re taking mass transit to work, companies might not pay whatever train, light-rail, and/or bus fare costs each month. And whatever those costs are, after company subsidies are deducted, come directly out of employees’ pockets.

    In theory, if requiring that employees commute to work 5x/week isn’t such a big deal to employers, then they should be OK with deducting time spent commuting from the 40 hours they expect people to spend in the office. They should also be OK with footing the full after-tax cost of employees’ commutes. In reality, though, that -NEVER- happens.

    The above argument is meant to highlight how much unpaid time employees spend commuting. Not all jobs can be done remotely, and even with roles that -CAN- be done remotely, there are sometimes good reasons for people to be in the office. But it’s unfair how much of employees’ free time companies expect to be donated, just because a C-suite manager thinks people are more productive in the office. And if the burden of paying for that extra time were forced upon companies instead of employees, I don’t think they’d be as cavalier about their in-office work requirements as they are today.

  6. Look, it is isn’t about capitalist or those who rage (while enjoying the benefits) of capitalist societies. It really comes down to caring about people. You care about your people, your people will care about the work. For a lot of us it also comes down to life realities.

    Personally, I will quit my current job and am actively looking because I need hybrid work. My reality is I recently became a single parent with younger children. Because my ex has, for reasons only known to themselves, devolved into a self obsessed and incompetent human who can’t be helpful or assist much in co-parenting if tax breaks aren’t involved, doesn’t mean my children don’t still need care and at least one loving parent actively involved in their lives. Frankly, I’m sorry I don’t buy the old work yourself to death and send ’em to daycare narrative. As a highly competent and educated person, I have moved mountains to get where I am today and I will move more and gain additional skill if I have to, in order to do what I need to do. I’m used to staying for years but now I’ve realized they’d replace me in a heartbeat so I will go where I need to in order to have the schedule and pay structure I need. Not because I’m some whiney pansy millennial that needs yoga and a calm atmosphere and hand holding but because I’m my only advocate. If I want a life, no one is going to hand it to me. It is up to me to go out and make it happen. Period. So yes employers take note. You will lose your workers if you don’t realize they aren’t cogs they’re humans, they don’t work in a vacuum, they have families, children, elders to care for, and they have realities they live in same as you.

    Just as innovation moves quickly and changes industry so to does human realities. Culture has changed and you must change with it too.

  7. Joseph

    Another reason to be totally remote is that some countries welcome remote workers offering a chance to get away from “woke” cities that are burning down, taking high taxes while the quality of life approaches zero. Why live in a Portland when you could live in Portugal, Bermuda, and others? The US has become an insane place best avoided so don’t count on Indians coming here to fill those jobs. They are smarter than that.