When It Comes To Remote Work, Leadership And Employees Disagree

There's a significant gap between what workers and employers want in work arrangements, reveals a new survey from OperationsInc.

More than half (51%) of workers say they want to work remotely more than they currently do, yet 56% expect to go into the office more frequently in the next six months, according to a new OperationsInc survey.

In the survey of 500 U.S. workers, one-third (33%) say they are expecting to go back into the office or work on-site every day in the next six months. Meanwhile, 40% say they intend to look for a new job in the next six months so that they can work remotely more often or every day.

“Despite inflation and predictions of a looming recession, we see unprecedented demand for talent that likely will maintain at a high enough level through 2022 to allow for employees and job seekers to find what they want,” said OperationsInc CEO David Lewis. “Employers who choose to ignore these trends are going to lose talent and find a steep uphill battle when they try and replace them.”

remote work
(Photo: Adobe Stock By fizkes)

Additional findings from the survey show that:

  • Nearly three in four (72%) workers want to change their remote work arrangement, with more than half (51%) saying they want to work remotely more than they are currently. Conversely, about one in five workers (21%) surveyed want to return to the office more frequently.
  • Nearly half of workers (49%) say they would be willing to take a pay cut to increase or retain their flexible/remote work arrangement, with 21% saying that they would take a pay cut even if it was more than 5% of their salary.
  • Three in five (60%) workers say they intend to change jobs in the next six months. Two in five (40%) want to change jobs to work remotely more often or every day. Conversely, one in nine workers (12%) wants to change jobs to work in the office or in-person more frequently or every day.
  • More than three-quarters (75%) of workers say that their direct supervisor has expressed that they return to the office more often. Over one-third (36%) say that direct supervisors want employees to come into the office every day.
  • More than half of workers (54%) have switched jobs since March 2020. Of those who have switched, two-thirds (67%) now work remotely more often.

Overall, the survey reveals that there is still a significant gap between what workers and employers want in work arrangements. Employers who fail to meet these demands are not only seeing higher levels of voluntary resignations; they are also seeing employees who remain are getting burned out, leading to otherwise happy employees seeking new jobs.

This vicious cycle drives up salaries, takes its toll on the cost per hire, and leads to more problems than the organization might otherwise experience if it simply listened to what employees want and found suitable compromises to get there. Leaders should consider a few tactics to help reset their culture in a post-COVID workplace, including employee engagement programs, hybrid management training, workplace culture assessments, and conflict resolution initiatives, suggests OperationsInc.

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