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.