Survey: Majority of Remote Pandemic Workers Want to Remain Remote
With the COVID-19 pandemic now in its second year, many workers who were forced to move from the office to their home last spring may be getting used to the “work-from-home” arrangements. In fact, a new survey suggests that a significant number of pandemic remote workers are hoping not to have to return to the office.
Recently, Flexjobs surveyed more than 2,000 people in the United States and Canada who worked remotely during the pandemic about their future “work from home” plans. In response, 65% said that they wanted to remain remote while one-third said they’d prefer a “hybrid” model going forward. Only 2% of those surveyed said that they wanted to return to a full-time office position. Furthermore, 58% of respondents stated that they’d look for another job rather than return to the office. However, 31% were unsure what they’d do while 11% said that a remote work option wasn’t essential to them.
While COVID-19 is still currently the top reason why remote workers are concerned about returning to the office, 46% of those surveyed bemoan the lack of flexibility that they say working out of the office again would bring. Along similar lines, 43% said a return to the office would negatively impact their work-life balance. Other oft-cited concerns included distractions and “office politics” (34%), needing to change their daily routine (27%), being away from family and pets (26%), and needing to find child care (15%).
According to pandemic remote workers surveyed, their work productivity has also increased while working from home, with a majority (55%) stating as much. On top of that, one-third estimate that their productivity has remained consistent regardless of the move to remote work. Only 6% of respondents admitted that the productivity had fallen since leaving the office while another 6% were unsure.
As for why those in favor of remote work prefer it, the top response (with 84%) was that there is no commuting required. Similarly, three-quarters of respondents said that the cost savings of working from home was one reason why they preferred it. To that point, 38% of those surveyed estimate savings of $5,000 or more tied to remote work with 20% expecting savings upwards of $10,000 per year.
Of course, working from home can also have some drawbacks. Asked what they didn’t like about remote work, 35% stated that working from home made it more difficult for them to “unplug.” Meanwhile, 28% reported that distractions in their home kept them from working. Additionally, 28% also said that tech issues were a downside to remote work.
It’s important to note that, although FlexJobs promoted its survey to a general audience, it also includes subscribers and members of its remote work job search service. Therefore, these results may be skewed toward those who were already incline to prefer work-from-home jobs. Nevertheless, the survey does highlight an economic reality that many businesses may soon be facing as they recall staff to their offices. Ultimately, it may be some time before the full effects that the pandemic has had on remote work are registered — but we can expect to hear much more debate on the pros and cons of this setup as the U.S. economy continues to reopen.