Last year, with a contagious virus spreading around the world — one that eventually killed more than 3.5 million people — many companies virtually shut down and relied on workers to perform their jobs from home. The whole thing became the largest work-at-home experiment in history.
Now, with the pandemic finally easing, some companies want their workers back in the office. But that may be easier said than done.
According to a survey by tech job market platform Hackajob, 86% of workers want to keep doing their jobs from home, City A.M. reports. “Only 14 percent of the 1,700 tech professionals surveyed want to go back to a company office full-time, while around one in four would like to work remote permanently.”
But the workers are OK with a compromise: 60% are happy to drop into the office once in a while and spend the rest of time working from home.
“Hybrid working is the new deal breaker for tech professionals,” said Mark Chaffey, co-founder and CEO of Hackajob. “Although working from home may not have been the easiest for individuals this past year, tech professionals clearly find the value in not being in the office every day. Employees are feeling more comfortable and happier working from home, having cultivated a work-life balance,” Chaffey told City A.M.
Chaffey also said that tech professionals are “just as productive when working from home, even more so in fact thanks to fewer distractions and no commute.”
But major tech companies are calling their workers back to the office. Apple employees, for instance, have been told to return to the office starting in early September.
“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” CEO Tim Cook said in an email. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”
But Cook said the company will employ a hybrid schedule. “Most employees will be asked to come in to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams that need to work in-person will return four to five days a week,” The Verge reported, adding:
Employees also have the chance to work remotely for up to two weeks a year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own,” according to the letter. Managers need to approve remote work requests.
Other companies, including Google, Ford Motor Co., and Citigroup Inc., are also promising greater flexibility, but others, like JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, aren’t so sure. At a recent conference, Dimon said that remote work doesn’t cut it “for those who want to hustle.”
“But as office returns accelerate, some employees may want different options,” Bloomberg News reported. “A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.”