Turns out, the new office could have a lot of empty desks if employers force employees back to work after the great work from home experiment of 2020 winds down.
More than one year after the first cases of COVID-19, many companies continue to operate remotely to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, as U.S. vaccination efforts continue to ramp up, a number of organizations are beginning to bring employees back to the traditional office.
A recent survey on Blind, an anonymous network for professionals, sought to understand how the switch back to the in-person office could impact employee turnover if the great remote work experiment were to conclude.
“Working on finding a remote role. I don’t want to go back to see the boomers pull in a conference room meeting and expect people to bring in pen and paper.,” said one Bank of America employee in the poll’s comments section.
On March 27, a Blind user posted a pop-up poll asking other people if they’d quit “if WFH ends.” A raw dataset reflecting the survey result includes responses from 3,050 Blind network users. Overall, more than one-third (35%) of respondents said they would quit if WFH ended and 54% said they would not. Interestingly, 349 respondents (11%) said they had “already negotiated WFH forever.”
SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)
As part of Blind’s anonymous framework, Blind users are able to list their employers. As a result, polling results can be parsed out across employers and industries. The dataset includes large sample pools for employees at some leading tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple and more.
Among the 424 respondents at Amazon, 43% said they would quit if WFH ended, 51% would not and 5% said they had negotiated remote work indefinitely. Among the 177 Microsoft respondents, 27% said they would quit if WFH ended, 62% would not and 11% said they had negotiated WFH forever.
“No. I get that WFH is cool, but my wife and kids will drive me crazy if this becomes a permanent thing. I’m cool with a hybrid environment but permanent? nevaaaa,” an Amazon employee commented.
SEE: WFH appeals to retirees and many have applied for remote positions, according to a survey (TechRepublic)
About one-third (31%) of the 154 Google respondents said they would quit if WFH ends, 64% said they would not and 5% said they’d negotiated WFH indefinitely. About one in five respondents employed at Facebook (21%) said they would quit if WFH ended, 70% would not and 9% have negotiated WFH forever.
More than one-quarter (28%) of the 96 respondents employed at Apple said they would quit if WFH ended, 67% would not and 5% said they had negotiated a long-term (forever) agreement related to remote work.
“If companies were truly diligent about making office spaces functional and efficient, I have no problem with them wanting teams in the office,” one Salesforce employee commented.
“However, I don’t know of a single company that doesn’t pack engineers cheek to jowl like cattle, while making unintelligent noises about ‘collaboration’ and promoting useless facilities managers for ‘impact’,” the Salesforce employee continued. “Meantime the engineers put on earphones and Slack and Zoom each other from across the aisle.”
The results of a Robert Half survey released earlier this month also found that one-third of “professionals currently working from home would look for new job if required to return to the office.”