As COVID-19 vaccinations have ramped up, many companies have laid out plans to bring their employees back to the office. However, a new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers finds that they may not want to readily give their current work lifestyle up.
The study, conducted by global staffing firm Robert Half, shows that about 1 in 3 professionals (34%) currently working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic would look for a new job if required to return to the office full-time.
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Nearly half of all employees surveyed (49%) said they would prefer to have a hybrid work environment to be able to divide their time evenly between the office and another location, compared to 26% who preferred to work fully remote and 25% who preferred to work fully in the office.
Many employees expressed concern about the prospect of working fully remote, including 28% of respondents who said they feel the arrangement would result in relationships with coworkers suffering, while 26% were concerned about decreased productivity while working at home and 20% were worried about fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility.
Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald emphasized that its important for employers to remain flexible and responsive to their employees' needs when planning a return to the office.
"Regardless of timing, companies should take a measured and carefully planned office re-entry approach and keep employees' health and safety top of mind," McDonald said in a statement. "Leaders should also use the opportunity to solicit staff feedback to shape corporate culture for the future."
Those surveyed who would return to the office said they want freedom to set preferred office hours, a personal, distraction free workplace, employer paid commuting costs, a relaxed dress code and employer provided childcare.
Employers planning their employees' return to the office can find guidelines and recommendations on how to create the safest environment possible by visiting the websites of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.