Over the past year and a half, the landscape of professional work has changed drastically, with remote work taking center stage. People across industries worldwide pivoted, albeit some bumps in the road along the way.
Now that life has started looking a bit more normal, many in the workforce who shifted to working remotely are hesitant to give up the benefits and flexibility it provides, with some even being willing to quit their current jobs for something that offers the option of remote work.
A recent study from Breeze examined what workers said they'd be willing to give up to in order to maintain their remote work status. It was clear from the responses of the 1,000 adult Americans surveyed (who are employed or looking for work at a job that can be completed entirely remotely) that workers place an extremely high value on remote work.
"Along with my wife and four kids, at 41 years old I moved back into the house I grew up in, where my mom still lives. It can be really humbling at times, but the flexibility and time with family are priceless," said Scott Penick, a 41-year old father of four and full-time attorney, who moved from New Jersey to South Carolina when the pandemic began. "Before we buy our own home, we hope to travel and rent AirBnBs for extended periods of time around the country. I can do that, because I am 100% remote."
In order to work remote, employees surveyed shared what they'd be willing to give up:
- 65% of those surveyed would take a 5% pay cut.
- 39% would give up health insurance benefits.
- 46% would give up 25% of their paid time off (PTO).
- 36% would give up their 401(k) or other retirement plan.
- 53% would work an extra 10 hours per week.
Though that doesn't mean employees should have to give up anything to have the flexibility to do their work remote, whether full-time or in a hybrid format. Thankfully, many employers have taken notice to the needs of their employees and are willing to adapt their company policies.
John Simmons, a C-level executive at InboxAlly, realized updates needed to be made after his company sent an email to employees asking them to return to the office. Their responses prompted Simmons to take action.
"We noticed that this [returning to the office] would be an issue with almost half of our staff when we sent out an email asking them to return to the office," Simmons said, noting one person was even willing to quit and offered to stay on as a freelancer.
His company reacted quickly to this response and created an anonymous survey asking employees how to tackle this issue.
"What we found was that people were really looking for the freedom to choose when and where they would be working from," Simmons explained. "So as a compromise, we now have one day a week where everyone is compelled to come to the office and this day is mainly for meetings. Four days of the week, people get to choose if they want to come to the office or work from home. This simple change was happily accepted by everyone."
Hybrid situations like the one now in place at Simmons' company are likely going to be more common moving forward. It's important to realize working from home is not a "vacation" and what remote workers really want is to be trusted, valued and respected—just like they would be while in the office.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.