More than a year after coronavirus shut down offices worldwide, most workers now say that they actually prefer the work from home grind and would like to maintain at least a hybrid schedule in the post-pandemic world, according to a new Harvard Business School (HBS) survey.
More than half of workers, 61%, who have been at home since last March say they would like a hybrid work schedule where they go into the office only two or three days a week. Another 27% want to work remotely full-time, and only 18% want to go back into the office full-time.
Married people and workers with kids at home were more likely to fall into the latter group that wants to go back into the office.
“Now, as we’re preparing to get back to ‘business as usual,’ it seems professionals don’t want ‘business as usual,'" HBS Online Executive Director Patrick Mullane said Thursday. "Instead, they want flexibility from their employers to allow them to maintain the new work/home balance and productivity they have come to enjoy.”
About a third of workers said their quality of work is better at home and that it is easier to focus away from the office.
Workers want to stay at home despite findings that workdays are extended while remote. The average person works 48.5 minutes more a day while logging in from their couch, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study last summer.
Mullane also noted that it was surprising "how well people feel they’ve performed at work, while at home."
Some 35% of workers said they read more, 29% continued their education, and 34% took online courses for career growth, according to the survey.
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Companies are starting to return to the office as vaccinations roll out, but some large firms have announced they're going to continue remote work post-pandemic.
Salesforce, Facebook, Google and other tech companies have all said workers can stay at home indefinitely. Target just announced a hybrid model for 3,500 workers and ditched one of its downtown Minneapolis office spaces. Ford Motor Corp. just told 30,000 employees worldwide that they can continue to work from home indefinitely.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.