Companies Say It’s Time To Return to The Office (Again) — 3 Reasons Employees Don't Agree

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June 23, 2024 at 5:2PM UTC

It’s time for workers to go back to the office.

At least that’s what company leaders and President Biden are saying. With COVID-19 cases falling and new safety measures in place, companies are ready to welcome back their employees to in-person work with open arms. 

This isn’t the first time a “return to work” wave has happened — but it’s the first time workers are choosing to work from home because they truly prefer remote work.

Fast Company has deemed the trend a “vibe shift” in the work from home vs. in-office debate. 

“More people say they’re working from home by choice, not because their office is closed. That’s a change from earlier in the pandemic,” writes Clint Rainey.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, 60% of American workers work from home regularly, whether on a fully remote or hybrid schedule. This is only slightly lower than the 71% who worked from home just six months into the pandemic in October 2020 — when almost all offices were closed.

Work from home is not only commonplace but commonplace by choice. It’s a benefit and a make-or-break deal for many job seekers. Here’s why. 

Why people want to work from home in 2022

Flexibility

“Flexibility” might just be the buzzword of the 2022 job search. While many workers are looking for flexible hours — meaning they work on their own schedule rather than a traditional 9-5 one — remote work offers some of that flexibility without asking for a different set of hours. Working from home allows remote workers to run to an appointment, pick up a child from school or even get that workout in without a major disruption from their workday.

Productivity 

After what might have been a bumpy adjustment to working from home, after nearly two years, many workers have not only adjusted to their work-from-home setup but actually achieve more while working from home. In a survey by ConnectSolution, 77% of workers who worked remotely at least a few times a month increased productivity

A study by Standford of 16,000 workers found that working from home increase productivity by 13% over nine months. 

Satisfaction at work

Remote work has shifted from a requirement to a lifestyle. Many people who work from home have fundamentally changed their relationship to work by just working outside of the office. They’ve deprioritized or decentered work in their lives. With much of the world opened back up, working from home has given many the freedom and time to do the things they love outside of work. 

While a majority of people are choosing to work from home — or trying to negotiate for remote work — not every person who has the chance is choosing to work from home. 

Why people don’t want to work from home in 2022

Collaboration is harder

With everyone working from home at the beginning of the pandemic, many workers felt an even playing field when it came to collaboration tools. Now, 73% of respondents to an Enboarder survey said that collaboration requires more effort than at the start of the pandemic. 

It’s not that collaboration is logistically harder — some workers still feel like the collaboration isn’t as valuable. 69% of respondests to the same survey said that they “don’t feel a very strong connection” to their coworkers while working from home.

It’s safer

It’s not just that COVID-19 cases are falling — we also now have multiple tools to make working in an office, in-person safer. Vaccines and their respective booster shots, high-grade masks and widely available antigen tests are all ways offices are making a safer comeback.

FOMO

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is very real when working remotely at a company that has an in-person option. Unlike when offices were entirely closed, working from home while some of your coworkers are in the office can make you feel left out or worried that you’re missing important information.

66% of hybrid workers in the Enboarder survey said they feel like they’re missing out on collaborative opportunities when they’re not working in the office.

Offices are making a comeback once again — but this time, many workers aren’t opting to come back to them.

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Zoe Kaplan is a Staff Writer & Content Strategist at Fairygodboss.

Are you choosing to work from home or would you rather return to an office? Why? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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