BOULDER, Colo. — Is working from home now a deal-breaker for you and where you work? You’re not alone. A new survey finds the pandemic lockdowns, which pushed many companies to switch to remote work, are changing what employees are putting on their “must-have” lists when it comes to their careers. Now, nearly six in 10 people (58%) say they want a fully remote job.
The FlexJobs survey of more than 4,600 people also finds 39 percent prefer a “hybrid” job that allows them to work at home and at the office. Meanwhile, just three percent of respondents want to return to an office full-time after the pandemic.
Despite the rapidly growing popularity of working from home, the poll finds 42 percent of respondents say their current employers are requiring them to return to in-person work. Only 27 percent are allowing workers to switch to a hybrid schedule and 17 percent are keeping their businesses full remote.
That schism in the workplace is leading to a startling decision by many workers facing the prospect of going back to an office full-time. The poll finds 44 percent of respondents know at least one person who has already quit their job or is planning to quit because their boss is requiring them to restart in-person work.
Moreover, 29 percent say they’re currently looking for a new job that allows for remote work. Another 17 percent would quit the job they currently have if it didn’t offer some form of remote work.
How important is remote work to employees now?
Researchers find one in five people would give up some of their vacation time if it means they get to work from home. One in four claim they’re willing to take a pay cut of up to 20 percent to work from home whenever they want.
As for why people are shunning office life, half the poll say working from home reduces their commuting stress, while 47 percent add it means having more time for family. With COVID keeping offices shuttered for months, 43 percent believe remote work reduces their exposure to illnesses.
However, the biggest perk of remote work is what it’s doing for people mentally. A staggering 81 percent agree that the top perk of remote work is the benefit it has for people’s work-life balance. Seven in 10 add it also improves their mental health.
Job search priorities are changing fast
So what are people looking for in their next job? A big salary? A handsome benefits package? Unlimited vacation perks? It turns out post-pandemic job seekers care more about “the culture” of the company they’re entering.
Over half the survey (57%) cite a lack of healthy work-life boundaries as a reason for not applying to a job, not accepting a job offer, or quitting their current job. Another 73 percent say seeing a toxic work environment would cause them to run away from a job.
Low salaries (79%), a micromanaging boss (58%), not allowing remote work (55%), and a lack of flexible work schedules (50%) all factor into the decisions many job seekers are making about their careers.
“It’s a job seeker’s market right now, and workers are more empowered than ever to leave job situations that aren’t ideal, or leave companies that aren’t allowing them to work the way they want to,” says Sara Sutton, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, in a statement. “As our latest survey highlights, workers are placing an extremely high value on the option to work remotely, and they’re committed to finding companies that are embracing remote work as a long-term workplace model and have a healthy company culture to support it.”
It wasn’t all about positivity while employees worked from home during COVID-19 lockdowns. In fact, many respondents are still nursing a grudge over how their bosses handled the crisis.
Three in 10 people say their company’s leadership displayed poor communication during the pandemic. More than one in five expressed dissatisfaction with their boss’s lack of understanding about work-life stress and conflicts. Another 22 percent say their companies set unrealistic expectations for productivity during the pandemic or displayed overall poor management skills.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post stated in the headline that “nearly half of workers plan to quit their jobs over in-person work policies.” This has been corrected to 17% (about 1 in 6) of surveyed workers claiming there is no remote work option.