Many people would do almost anything to avoid a return to the commute

Tired businessman
(Image credit: Pexels)

Modern workers hate commuting so much that many say they’d do almost anything else instead, a report from RingCentral has found, claiming many would rather have their in-laws stay for the weekend or even clean toilets, than return to the office full time.

To say employees prefer working remotely would apparently be an understatement, with RingCentral’s report confirming two-thirds (66%) want just that. Should they be forced to return to the office in a full-time capacity, a quarter (25%) said they would look for a new job elsewhere. 

Job hunting

And many really are looking for new jobs. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 791,000 UK workers (2.6% of the country’s entire workforce) swapped jobs in Q2 2021. This is also the highest total since March 2019, and before that, the highest in a decade.

Of all the workers that are driving this “Great Resignation” trend, the majority are relatively young. Roughly a third (32%) of 21-24-year-olds said to be planning to leave their current employer, while an additional 27% said they’ll do it within the next six months. 

A third of millennials said they’d seek out a new position if their current bosses force them to return to the office in a bigger capacity.

Social anxiety

While the loathing towards commute may be driving the desire for remote and hybrid working, RingCentral also uncovered another major cause - social anxiety. It was said that more than half (52%) of employees now have new colleagues they’ve never met in their life, and 47% of them have expressed anxiety about meeting them face-to-face.

They seem to be particularly worried about Covid-19, as the majority (75%) believe those who return to the office should be vaccinated.

“It’s all very well to flippantly say that workers should ‘get off their Pelotons’ and return to the office, but for many individuals, the introduction of a hybrid working model has been a lifeline,” said Steve Rafferty, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, RingCentral. 

“Giving people flexibility to manage work around other commitments helps to boost work-life balance, and supports those who may have challenges such as mental health concerns. What’s more, the last 18 months have proven that with the right collaboration tools, it is possible not only to build highly productive teams, but also meaningful human connections with colleagues to generate positive working relationships. One way or another, the data is clear: if businesses want to retain their staff they need to offer an environment that caters to modern needs.”

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.