- Generation Z workers are the age group most likely to feel COVID-19 stifled career growth — due largely to a lack of traditional, on-site work experience, according to the 2022 Business in the Northwest report from Washington State University's Carson College of Business.
- Additionally, 38% of Pacific Northwest employees report that ongoing remote work has negative impacts on collaboration and teamwork. Tension appears in the report regarding the return to a traditional 9-to-5 office setting, however; 71% of business leaders and 59% of employees say returning to such a setting would not be "realistic" for them.
- Despite this tension, 60% of business leaders and 71% of employees said their companies have plans to return to the traditional format in-office.
Even before the onset of the omicron variant, remote workers have protested returning to the office — to the point of saying they would switch jobs over it. One-third of workers surveyed by Robert Half earlier this year who are currently working from home said they would seek out a new job if told by their employers they would be required to return to the office full time.
But the pandemic's impact on the careers of young workers has been documented by other reports, too; a report from March 2021 showed that young U.S. and U.K. workers may be reconsidering what they want out of their careers due to changes wrought by the pandemic. Unemployment has also trended higher for young people since February 2020.
To address these concerns, employers have opted for hybrid work approaches that either let employees choose where they will work, as in the case of Spotify's announced flexible work model, or only require employees be in the office part of the week, as in Google's plan. But employers still need to tread carefully. Early reports regarding hybrid work show it could be "emotionally exhausting," even more so than remote work alone.
In any case, any resistance employees may hold to any return to the worksite may be rooted in "deeply personal" aspects, one expert previously wrote for HR Dive — especially after a year or more working completely remotely.