We're nearly two years into working from home as a result of the pandemic and employees are loving the flexibility that the new normal provides – and will move companies to keep it.
That's the findings from a survey of 10,737 knowledge workers in the US, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK conducted by Future Forum, a consortium established by Slack and others to promote new ways of working.
While the pandemic has caused huge stress and anxiety, as well as significant loss for many, workers are finding that the they enjoy being free from daily office visits and being forced to live in cities. A full 58% are in hybrid working arrangements, up 12% from May 2021, and 68% say this is their preferred method of working now. The benefits are clear: 12% report higher workplace satisfaction, 15% cite work-life balance, and 25% feel better about workplace stresses.
Workers want flexibility
A whopping 78% want workplace flexibility, an increase from 76% last quarter, and 95% want flexibility with schedules.
In fact, the design to work remotely and flexibly is strongest among historically underrepresented or discriminated-against groups. The survey found that 86% of Hispanic/Latinx workers and 81% of Asian/Asian American and Black workers preferred hybrid or remote working, compared to 75% of white respondents.
Globally, women preferred remote or hybrid working by 52%, compared to 46% for men, and 50% of working mothers want flexibility.
Executives are unsure
So, workers say they love remote (or hybrid) working but executives aren't so sure. Those who run the offices – and presumably put in long stints of in-person working to get there – are sceptical of the changes, preferring to see their employees face-to-face.
Some worry about inequalities developing from remote working. A full 41% of respondents cited these concerns, up from 33% last quarter, as worries about the status of those who do not appear in-person rise.
71% of executives report being in the office three or more days per week, compared to 63% of non-executive employees.
“Executives are now acknowledging that there has been a shift in the past two years, and they don't know how to create equity in this new normal,” said Ella F. Washington, an organisational psychologist and professor at Georgetown University.
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Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.