As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed he way Americans work, shop, and play. The two major shifts brought on by the pandemic is the hyper charged rise in e-commerce and the remote work model. Now that offices are seeking to have workers return to the office, they are seeing pushback from their employees.
A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39 percent would consider quitting if their employers were not flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49 percent, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.
A FlexJobs survey of 2,100 people found that 58 percent of workers said they would “absolutely” look for a new job if they cannot continue remote work in their current role. An additional 31 percent said they are not sure what they would do, and only 11 percent said that working remotely is not a big deal.
Concerns about returning to the office include:
- Less flexibility: (46 percent)
- Less work-life balance: (43 percent)
- Change in daily routine: (27 percent)
- Being away from family or pets: (26 percent)
- Office politics and distractions: (34 percent)
- Childcare or caregiver responsibilities: (15 percent)
- Lack of health and safety measures (i.e., wearing a mask, social distancing): (32 percent)
- Being required to adhere to health and safety measures: (21 percent)
Health and safety concerns may very well dissipate as the worst of the pandemic moves further away but those other concerns are not so easy for employers to overcome. Furthermore, 38 percent estimate that they are saving at least $5,000 a year working remotely, while one out of five estimates that they save more than $200 per week, or $10,000 a year. Let us not forget there are significant cost benefits for companies to reduce their office space and increase their virtual workforce.
However, as the country learned during the pandemic, not all work can be done remotely. First responders and essential workers, like truck drivers, showed up every day to ensure stores were stocked, hospitals were supplied, and first responders were equipped. Rather than lament the shift to hybrid and work from anywhere models cities like New York should embrace it and reinvest and promote industrial and manufacturing jobs. This will allow NYC to continue as a leader in finance, media, and tech via hybrid models, while creating new avenues for blue collar entrepreneurs who would live in the region and commute daily.