Are Technologists Actually Heading Back to the Office Yet?

Are technologists already heading back to the office in significant numbers? As companies everywhere figure out how to re-open in a safe and efficient manner, that’s a crucial question to answer. 

Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists on a range of issues, recently asked its audience whether they’d commuted back to their offices in August. As you can see from the following chart, some 72 percent of technologists remained at home for the entirety of the month. Breaking out things on a company-by-company basis, it’s also clear that, even at companies such as Netflix and Amazon that have loudly proclaimed an “office-centric” focus, only a minority of employees have actually begun to return: 

What’s clear, though, is that some employees are venturing back to the office despite the uncertainties around the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. Although companies such as Google have announced return-to-office delays due to fears of infection, some employees (such as those who work on complicated hardware projects) have no choice but to head in. 

Once those uncertainties pass, many companies are opting for hybrid work, with employees returning to their desks for a few days per week. Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report showed that, in the second quarter of 2021, some 85 percent of technologists wanted hybrid work, slightly but notably ahead of the 80 percent who preferred full-time remote work. While hybrid work might present some complications for managers(particularly from a scheduling standpoint), employees with better work-life balance are far more likely to stick around.

In the meantime, companies everywhere need to figure out an optimized schedule for bringing their employees back to the office, and adjust those offices to suit the new, quasi-post-pandemic environment. If technologists don’t feel like their offices are sanitary and welcoming, they’ll do everything possible to continue working from home—even if that means pursuing a different job.