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More Than 1 in 4 Workers Say They Don’t Want to Return to the Office After Pandemic Passes

  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents in a poll of over 9,000 knowledge and skilled workers said they would prefer to never or rarely return to working in an office
  • Workers cite benefits such as a better work-life balance, less stress, and higher productivity
  • Older workers more likely to favor an office-free job than younger ones

Just over one-quarter of workers in a recent survey said they would be in favor of rarely if ever returning to an office environment after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, citing a better work-life balance and other benefits. However, most employees said they favor a mix of office and remote work.

Future Forum by Slack conducted a survey of more than 9,000 knowledge and skilled employees over a three-month period to gauge their hopes and expectations for the future of work. Just 12 percent said they would like to conduct all their work in an office after the pandemic, while 72 percent wanted a mix of remote and office work.

Thirteen percent said they would like to work from home permanently, while 14 percent said they would only want to go into an office on rare occasions. Thirty-four percent favored a mix of working arrangements, while 27 percent indicated that they would like the office as their “usual” work environment.

Respondents were more likely than not to say remote work has improved their work-life balance, productivity, stress levels, and overall satisfaction with their job. They also cited benefits such as eliminating a commute and saving money. The most commonly cited disadvantages with remote work included less of a sense of belonging at the company, a feeling of isolation, and difficulty coordinating with co-workers.

Older employees were more likely than younger ones to favor remote work; 17 percent of those ages 55 to 64 said they would prefer to never work in an office, compared to 11 percent of those ages 25 to 44.

Forty-eight percent of workers said they expect their company to change their policies on remote work, while 31 percent did not expect such changes.

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