Monday, January 3, 2022

This Year, Don't Expect Staff to Return to the Office in Droves

Over at ZDNet, we read...

Months have gone by, and the great resignation keeps rolling along. Some people thought that people would come flocking back to the office once generous unemployment benefits ended. Nope. Wrong. Months after Republican states cut the $300-a-week Federal benefit and other benefits expired, there has been no rush to return to the workforce. There are many reasons for this. People don't want to catch COVID-19; people are sick of bad jobs; early retirement; and the one I care about today, bosses still think they can force skilled workers to return to offices. I've said it before; I'll say it again. That's not going to happen. People with talent and high-value skills, like most technology workers, aren't returning to traditional offices. You don't have to believe me, though. Look at the numbers being reported. 

A Hackajob survey of 2,000 UK tech workers and employers found not quite three-quarters (72%) of tech workers said having the ability to do remote work was very important to them. All, and by the way, just over one in five were looking for new jobs with remote work. A more recent Microsoft survey found UK techies felt even stronger about the issue. In this survey, they found over half of the employees would consider quitting if you tried to force them back into the office. It's not just the UK. The Future Forum Pulse survey found IT workers in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan all had one thing in common: Most want to work at least part of the time remotely. To be precise, 75% want flexibility in where they work, while 93% want flexibility in when they work. Why? The top reason: "Better work-life balance." 

The problem? Many executives and owners haven't gotten the clue yet. 44% said they wanted to work from the office daily. Employees? 17%. Three-quarters of bosses said they at least wanted to work from the office 3-5 days a week, versus 34% of employees. Can we say disconnect? I can. And, here's the point. Today, for the first time in my lifetime, workers, not employers, are in the driver's seat. [...] But, that doesn't mean that you must give up the traditional office entirely. You don't. In the Dice State of Remote Work report, there's a remote work spectrum. Sure, some workers never want to cross the office transom again, but others like a flexible work schedule where they can work outside of the office a set number of days per week or month. By Dice's count, only one in five workers are bound and determined to never come into the office again. 75% would be fine with flex work. But, pay attention folks, only 3% want to go back to the old-school 9 to 5, every weekday at the office. I repeat a mere 3% want to return to the office as most of you knew it in the 2010s. Indeed, 7% of respondents said they would even take a 5% salary cut to work remotely.

So if your work is unfulfilling and the office is a distracting nuisance -- almost nothing will get you to back in your cubicle. Rather than blaming workers for actually having a bit of power for the first time in roughly a century, should we be addressing these issues and doing something about it?

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