BOULDER, Colo. — With the end of COVID-19 finally in sight, employers are probably counting the days until their offices reopen. However, a new survey finds they shouldn’t expect their workers to come flowing through the door — even after the pandemic. In fact, 58 percent of remote workers now say they would look for a new job if they can’t keep working from home.
The FlexJobs survey of over 2,100 people worldwide, who either worked remotely during COVID or are still working from home, reveals the growing popularity of never setting foot in an office again. Just 11 percent said not being allowed to work at home anymore wouldn’t bother them.
The poll, completed in early April, also finds 65 percent want to keep working remotely full-time even after COVID ends. One in three would prefer a hybrid arrangement involving some office work and some days at home. A mere two percent say they are looking forward to working in an office full-time again.
The results are a major jump from a similar survey just one month earlier. That poll revealed just one in three Americans would quit their job if they had to return to the office.
“I’m not surprised to see that more than half of people working remotely during the pandemic, even under these strained and unusual circumstances, appreciate its benefits to such a strong degree that they would leave their current jobs in order to keep working from home,” says Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, in a statement. “The landscape of remote work has permanently changed as a result of COVID-19 and its impact will be felt in the job market and the workplace well into the foreseeable future.”
Remote work is saving people a lot of money
With so much negativity surrounding COVID quarantines and months in isolation, one might think people are itching to go back to work. However, the poll finds 49 percent still say fears about COVID-19 exposure is their biggest concern about in-office work. Another 46 percent worry about having less work flexibility and 43 percent think it will disrupt their work-life balance.
Workers are also looking at all the positives staying home is bringing them, especially in their wallets. Nearly four in 10 respondents (38%) estimate working from home is saving them over $5,000 a year. Those savings come from not having to eat out, not buying gas, or needing dry cleaning. One in five believe they’re saving around $200 a week, or roughly $10,000 annually!
Not surprisingly, 75 percent of remote workers name saving money as their top perk. That’s second only to not having to commute to the office anymore (84%).
With all that extra cash on hand, many are putting it into fixing up their home office setup. Nine in 10 respondents put money into their home office in 2020, with 12 percent spending over $1,000.
Some remote workers, on the other hand, might be looking to invest in some movers. The poll finds, if they can secure a full-time remote work position, 37 percent are “definitely” considering living elsewhere. Another 31 percent say they might consider a move to a new area. These respondents name quality of life (58%) as the biggest reason to move. A lower cost of living and housing (47%) and a better climate (38%) follow closely behind.
Remote work still has its flaws and challenges
Although people love working from home, it turns out many still don’t know when their workday should end. Thirty-five percent say overworking and being unable to “unplug” is the biggest challenge of remote work.
Dealing with non-work distractions (28%), troubleshooting tech problems alone (28%), and getting reliable WiFi (26%) also frustrate the remote workforce.
Also troublingly, 56 percent of workers say they’ve experienced burnout during the pandemic. As the health crisis wears on, 39 percent say their mental health is worse today than it was in January 2020.