Employers’ Vision for Remote Work May Clash with Technologists’ Desires

As companies figure out the best ways to bring employees back to the office (despite worries over a surging Delta variant), debate over remote and hybrid work (i.e., a few days per week in the office, the rest spent working from home) is perhaps inevitable. How often do employers want their workers in the office, and does that conflict with workers’ desires? 

According to a July paper by researchers Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis, roughly 40 percent of those Americans “who currently work from home at least one day a week” would leave their current employment if their bosses made them return to the office full-time. Meanwhile, companies are planning on employees working from home an average of 1.2 days per week once the pandemic subsides. 

“Our survey-based evidence also suggests that high rates of quits and job openings in recent months partly reflect a re-sorting of workers with respect to a newly salient job attribute—namely, the scope for remote work,” the paper added. The researchers drew their data from the June Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes (SWAA), which queries 50,000 working-age Americans.  

“Some employers are willing and able to accommodate those desires [for remote work], and some are not,” the paper continued. “As a result, many workers are re-sorting across employers and into jobs that better suit their preferences over working arrangements. As that process plays out, it will push up quit rates. It will also drive high job opening rates, as employers contend with the need for a higher-than-normal pace of replacement hires.”

According to Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, a majority of technologists want to work remotely 2-4 days per week. On top of that, roughly a quarter (26 percent) are under the impression that they’ll be able to work remotely full-time once COVID-19 restrictions permanently lift. 

While many technologists like the idea of hybrid work, only 13 percent want to work remotely one day per week; around 22 percent would prefer two days per week, 24 percent want three days, and 12 percent opt for four days. For managers, having a team on a hybrid schedule can insert additional complexity into scheduling and meetings—but many companies, aware of how a hybrid schedule can boost morale, will try to make it work. 

Meanwhile, employers that insist on keeping technologists to a single remote-work day per week may face some turnover, if the data from these researchers’ paper proves correct. With tech-industry unemployment at 1.5 percent, the lowest rate in two years, technologists have options when it comes to where (and how) they want to work. 

2 Responses to “Employers’ Vision for Remote Work May Clash with Technologists’ Desires”

  1. jake_leone

    Most software production does not require that an employee be physically on site.

    Unfortunately for logic, many Big-Tech executive have spent billions of dollars building huge offices (Facebook, Google, Apple… All did this) in Silicon Valley.

    Now the work from home pandemic requirement has proven this to be a stupid and foolish thing. So these same execs are scrambling to find any excuse what-so-ever to get people back in to the office.

    Because they know they can’t let the meme take hold, that working from home is actually more productive that driving 6 hours to the office on cramped Bay Area highways. Big Tech executive can’t afford people realizing that now they can work 10-12 hours a day, from home. And they don’t need to drive that car to work, and fill the world with tons of Green House gas, that is literally killing the planet.

    What a selfish frankly piggish thing. These execs are the only ones who can afford to buy a house locally in Silicon Valley, but they want all their employees to get in to the office, because if the public begins to understand that work from home is actually more productive than drive for 6 hours, and work maybe 8 at work, then they will look like such selfish, egotistical idiots.

    You know in the Bay Area, the only affordable house you can buy right now is a hundreds miles away from Silicon Valley. Yet these tech execs want people to commute hundreds of miles per day, on packed Bay Area Freeways, just to get in to the office. You would think, that while these guys are out flying their private (gas hog) jets to Davos to talk (talk, talk, talk) about climate change, they would realize they are biggest polluters of all-time, OF ALL-TIME.

    Instead of talking about the unsubstantiated Meme that a packed in office leads to serendipitous moments of great insight and productivity (which is a myth and a con-job, rolled into one). Instead of doing the easy thing of touting that con-job Meme to the BOD in order to justify the big bonus. They have to realize the pandemic has proved they are completely wrong, the way to run a software company is to have your employees work from home as much as possible.

    Why can’t anyone just realize that instead of forcing your employees to commute 6 hours a day, and maybe spend 8 hours actually working on site (for no practical reason what-so-ever). You instead make the policy up to 4 days work from home, have one in-person day (if needed).

    And that big office you built, rent it out to someone else, convert it to condos, because you didn’t really need it. It was actually a big hindrance to software productivity. That big office required you to hire locally (or scam the immigration system in order to bring in foreign workers, illegally (Facebook, Cognizant recent examples). Workers that are more expensive than the workers that you can hire in the midwest.

    And isn’t salary your biggest expense, or are tech executive stock option bonuses your biggest expense? What comes up in the BOD meeting and what are the ulterior motives of you tech executive?