It’s becoming increasingly harder for many of us to remember when actually going into work was the norm. According to a survey by Upwork, 22% of the American workforce will be remote by 2025, an 87% increase from 2019. During the pandemic, companies that could were forced to go online in the interest of health and safety. Employees were quick to embrace this new way of working, and the many benefits soon became apparent. In fact, new research tells us that remote and hybrid workers are less stressed and more productive. In addition, a better work-life balance leads to increased physical and mental wellbeing. While going remote is clearly working for some, CNBC reports half of companies want their staff to return to the office full-time. This move is already being met with resistance by those who’ve enjoyed working from home. We analyzed the online conversation around remote work to find out how people really feel about going back.
1. Some Would Rather Quit
A survey by Robert Half revealed that over half of remote workers would rather quit than return to the office. Therefore, it’s no surprise the online conversation around going back is largely negative. Quite simply, some are putting this down to having bad jobs. One Twitter user writes, “Remote work as a cope for shitty jobs; if you loved the company, role, and people, you wouldn’t quit over having to go to the office a couple days a week.”, while another Tweet reads, “The Great Reset: It’s never been the great resignation. Workers aren’t choosing not to work: they are choosing not to work for companies who treat them terribly. It’s not a future of work evolution. It’s a quality of life revolution.”. Most employees are happier working at home, and it is in a company’s interest to find out why, and what aspects can be replicated in the office. Efforts to create a positive workplace culture that improves employee wellbeing will prove essential for getting people back in. This will also prove to be mutually beneficial. A recent study on employee wellness programs revealed a 6-1 return on investment.
2. Compromise Is Key
In addition, companies that are willing to compromise might just have more success. Research by Owl Labs showed that hybrid workers are 22% happier than those onsite. As a result, they were more likely to stay in their jobs longer. Parenting is a top interest among those discussing their return to the office. Parents will likely struggle the most with going back to the office, with many concerned that this will affect their ability to deliver sufficient care. A post on Reddit reads, “I returned to office two months ago and getting baby nursed, ready, fed breakfast, myself ready, her dropped off at daycare, and me in my desk at work by 8am seems impossible.”.
Interestingly, some users value flexibility more than a higher salary, one user writes:
“I recently resigned from a very reputable organization to move to a small non-profit with a lesser pay. The reason? I really didn’t like my job (duties, strict work arrangements, and team environment. This new job will pay $20000 less than my current job but more closely related to what I enjoy doing and they’re very flexible with work arrangements (remote/hybrid). Note that this is a 1 year contract position with a possibility of extension based on my performance which I am confident won’t be an issue.”
Though many can’t afford to take a pay-cut for their well being, it is important to remember that happier employees do better work. Therefore, it may be more effective to introduce flexible or hybrid arrangements than return to full-time immediately.
3. How ‘Quiet Quitting’ Can Help
“Quiet quitting” is trending within online conversations about returning to the office. But this isn’t exactly what it sounds like. In fact, it refers to not allowing work to take over one’s life, or going above and beyond what a job description entails. Often viewed as an alternative to leaving a job one is unhappy in, it means doing the bare minimum of what is expected. This has resonated particularly with younger generations, who are in fact driving the online conversation around this subject. Research by Deloitte identified a need for flexibility in work, and balance in life among young people. Quiet quitting doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Quiet quitting could be a sign your employees are feeling burnt out. Being able to identify this, and allowing them to withdraw when necessary, will help to build loyalty and trust. Greater employee wellbeing also leads to less spending on healthcare. In addition, happier employees are often more productive and engaged as a result. It’s likely that quiet quitting could eventually lead to an improved working environment, and a more successful business.
In conclusion, prioritizing wellness is key to return-to-workplace buy in. Companies should take time to build effective strategies based on the pros and cons of flexible and remote work according to the workers themselves. To find out more about how social listening can help to do this, get in touch today.