Nearly half of workers — about 47% — may consider a new job if their employer ends or reduces flexible work arrangements such as remote and hybrid options, according to a May 18 report from Eagle Hill Consulting.
The push-and-pull dynamics between employers and employees continue to evolve this year as the labor market shifts and more employers announce plans to end remote work. However, some organizations are still emphasizing remote-first or employee-driven work location decisions, which may appeal to workers who want to retain flexibility.
“Employers are walking a tightrope when it comes to remote and hybrid work changes,” Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, said in the statement.
“Balancing the need for high performance while also retaining top talent isn’t easy,” she said. “The research suggests that approaches to remote work must be nuanced and there is common ground.”
For instance, preferences may vary by generational cohort. About 61% of Gen Z and 57% of millennial employees said they would look for other work if remote flexibility were scaled back, as compared with 29% of Baby Boomers.
At the same time, many workers still see the value of some aspects of in-person work. In a nationwide survey of more than 10,000 U.S. workers, 60% said those who work more in the office are more likely to be successful in their jobs. In addition, 83% said integrating a new team member is better in person, 82% said team building is better in person, and 77% said managing teams and training are often better in person.
Onboarding, kicking off a new project, getting a project back on track, having performance discussions, giving and receiving feedback and brainstorming sessions also appear to benefit from in-person meetings, according to a majority of survey respondents.
In addition to those insights, the Eagle Hill results also showed that about 42% of workers said their job satisfaction would drop and 34% said their productivity would drop if their employer mandated a return to in-person work. Workers expressed concerns about work-life balance, commute times, higher costs and stress.
Even still, senior executives and HR leaders may need to be aware of the downfalls of remote work as well. Many workers may be experiencing mental health challenges, particularly loneliness and isolation, according to recent research, which could be addressed through in-person arrangements, employee experience programs and workplace culture efforts.
Beyond that, organizations may need to remain flexible this year with ongoing shifts in the labor market and the power dynamics of employer-employee work arrangements. Earlier this year, a majority of hiring managers said pandemic-driven remote work was here to stay, yet that trend has already shifted throughout the year as companies cut back on remote jobs and recruiting platforms reported a dip in remote job offers on display. The disconnect between employers and job candidates could lead to an ongoing bind later this year.