- Sixty-seven percent of supervisors consider remote workers more replaceable than on-site counterparts, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management. In addition, 72% said they would prefer to have all their subordinates working in the office and 62% said they believe full-time remote work is detrimental to employees' career objectives.
- Most employees agreed that remote work is beneficial and increases performance. However, 59% said working remotely permanently would diminish networking opportunities, 55% said it would cause work relationships to suffer and 54% said it would require them to work more hours.
- "These results raise the question of who's really winning with remote work," said Johnny Taylor, Jr., SHRM's president and chief executive officer, in a release. "HR and business leaders need to answer this question to ensure they are able to attract and retain top talent and build an equitable workplace where everyone has the ability to succeed."
SHRM's survey results align with a broader trend emerging as employers navigate whether and how to bring employees back to the office: Managers are far less enthusiastic about remote work than other employees. In May, employment law firm Littler found that while 71% of employers believed their employees would prefer a hybrid or remote work option, 28% of them planned to require employees to return full time and in person anyway. More strikingly, 39% of small business owners who responded to a Digital.com survey in April said they would fire workers who don't return on-site.
Offering a remote option may not work in all cases. Healthcare, construction and engineering are among the fields that may require at least some workers to be available in person. Nearly half of respondents to the Digital.com survey cited above said most job functions could only be done in person, especially those in information technology, business, finance and advertising.
In other cases, it appears the preference could be grounded in resentment or a lack of trust. Sixty-seven percent of supervisors surveyed by SHRM said they spend more time supervising remote workers than on-site workers. Forty percent of respondents to the Digital.com survey said employees were more productive on-site. The responses suggest that some supervisors have experienced reduced control and poorer performance from employees having implemented remote work, although it may be difficult to gauge whether the detrimental effects are real or perceived.
However, it's also clear that employees have lodged a resounding preference for remote and hybrid work options, with a third of remote workers saying they would seek a new job if their employer asked them to return to the office full time. Employers who are able to offer remote and hybrid work options will have an upper hand in navigating the talent crunch. Brian Elliott, vice president of the Future Forum at Slack,recently offered advice on how to make hybrid work successful.