If companies in the US require professionals who are currently working from home to return to the office, they might lose one-third of that workforce, according to the findings of a new survey by Robert Half. 34 percent of US respondents said they would look for a new job if their employer demanded that they work in the office full time.
This figure matches findings from other studies. For instance, one survey by GitLab at the end of 2020 indicated that 69 percent of respondents worldwide are more likely to remain with an employer that supports remote work. Another study by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that the top reasons for planning to change jobs in 2021 are flexible work schedules and locations.
Nevertheless, most employees are apparently willing to compromise. The Robert Half survey found that 49 percent of professionals are happier with a hybrid arrangement that allows them to work partly in the office and partly out of it. The rest are evenly split between wanting to be fully remote (26 percent) and fully in the office (25 percent). However, the survey did not explore whether this preference might be linked to job roles or to demographics.
Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, highlighted that the findings underscore the persistent gap between what business heads want, and what employees want. "After a year of drastic change, many business leaders are eager to restore a sense of normalcy and welcome staff back to the office," he said. "But reopening doors will bring new obstacles for companies to navigate. Not all employees will be ready—or willing—to return to the workplace, so staying flexible and responsive to their needs will be critical."
The survey also asked professionals how they would like their companies to support them in returning to the office. The top most popular forms of support are:
Freedom to set preferred office hours
A personal, distraction-free workspace
Employer-paid commuting costs
Relaxed dress code