- More than half (56%) of employees who work in an office at least four days a week agree that working on site is preferable to remote work, according to an August survey by background check platform checkr.com. And 71% said they may be more valuable to employers than colleagues working remotely, the Sept. 12 results revealed.
- Despite having generally positive feelings about working in the office, the 3,500 respondents indicated some mixed feelings about whether in-office work puts them at an advantage for promotions and whether they should be paid more because they commute and are subject to more direct scrutiny.
- Respondents also said a shift to remote work wouldn’t drive them to job hunt. Some, however, said they are somewhat jealous of friends and co-workers who work remotely, and would accept a pay cut to do so.
As office work arrangements continue to evolve, the checkr.com survey indicates that worker sentiments haven’t changed that much over the past year.
For example, a January survey by the American Staffing Association revealed that more than half of the U.S. adults who responded believed those who work exclusively in the office have a competitive advantage over remote workers. Yet, 44% said they would take a pay cut if it gave them more freedom to work remotely.
The checkr.com report reminded employers that with work environments constantly changing — due to both internal and external variables — determining which model works best for their particular organization will be an ongoing process.
In this dynamic atmosphere, employers can use the insight they gain from being aware of how workers feel about key issues to navigate the “challenges of maintaining team cohesion, monitoring productivity, and fostering a sense of belonging in a distributed workforce,” the organization said.
These insights may also help companies craft work arrangement policies in two ways, checkr explained. First, “by analyzing employee preferences, organizations can identify which roles are better suited for remote work and which benefit from in-person collaboration,” it said. Second, “tracking key indicators, such as engagement levels, productivity trends and overall job satisfaction,” can help companies identify which models need adjusting over time.
One finding taps into why hybrid modes have emerged as a compromise: While in-office employees like the professional advantage they get from interacting personally with managers and co-workers, they also understand the personal value of working from home.
Hybrid models seem to be the choice of most employers, according to HR professionals, C-suite executives and in-house attorneys who responded to a March survey by Littler Mendelson. More than 70% said their organizations are sticking with hybrid arrangements in 2023, although the majority of those are becoming more strict about in-office requirements, the survey found.
The perception that remote workers are less motivated and not as productive as those who work at the office — a view held by 56% of the checkr.com respondents — could be a factor.
Although surveys consistently find that in-office employees feel they have the advantage professionally over remote workers, that may not necessarily mean they can’t collaborate or get along in a work setting. According to checkr.com, “a whopping 54% majority” of the workers who responded to its survey didn’t see remote work as being detrimental to their company. More than 51% said they rarely or never experienced frustration over communicating with remote workers, scheduling meetings or dealing with technical issues, the survey found.
Employers should keep in mind that as hybrid work arrangements continue to trend, research has cautioned that poorly thought-out models can frustrate employees, and the lack of established norms can cause them to leave.
Also, to cut down on “proximity bias” — which may color a supervisor’s perception of a direct report’s performance, depending on whether they work at the office or remotely — HR experts have recommended that employers create a culture of ongoing feedback.