‘The Home Alone Effect’: Workers Are Increasingly Receptive to Returns to the Office, Study Finds
- Among the 51% of respondents to the latest Workhuman survey Human Workplace Index Survey who are required to return to the office full-time, 71% say they agree with their employer’s decision. Most respondents also said they were generally satisfied, with 79% saying they were satisfied with their current company and 63% saying they had no intention of leaving.
- Among the third of workers who disagreed with returns to the office, 43% said it was not necessary for their job and 31% said workers should have the ability to configure multiple configurations. Additionally, a majority of workers raised concerns about the financial burdens associated with on-site work, including travel costs and child or elder care.
- Employees who moved during the pandemic can also complicate employers’ return-to-work plans: 42% of workers would need to move to return to the office, according to the survey.
Overview of the dive:
Workhuman’s findings are among the first to suggest – after a Great Extended Resignation and months of tension between management and employees – that many workers may return to the office.
“I call it ‘the Home Alone effect,'” Steve Pemberton, Workhuman’s chief human resources officer, told HR Dive. “When you’re stuck at home, it looks pretty cool… But after a while, the isolation starts to set in.”
Isolation issues increased last year as more than a year of working from home began to weigh on some workers. Difficulty with the arrangement appears to vary widely, with some workers saying they thrive and others say they wither away in home office conditions. Women and people of color generally said they were happier working from home than their counterparts, for example, while trainees said they suffered of poor communication and connection.
But while workers long for the social connection of the workplace, they are also loath to give up the benefits of working from home, Pemberton said. “I’ve just been thinking about my neighborhood since the pandemic started — I see family walks and sitting down to dinner and getting off the school bus, reading bedtime stories, you know, things only when you’re engaged in a long drive…these human moments often get lost,” he added.
As a result, Pemberton said he thinks hybrid working will be the sustainable compromise for most. This type of arrangement has been on the minds of HR managers for a while now, although the execution was a struggle. Last summer, TinyPulse survey respondents ranked hybrid work as the most emotionally draining arrangement. The model, new to most workplaces, is going through a period of growing difficulty, with workplaces experiencing “hidden gaps, risks, inefficiencies and threats”. according to a report.
Finally, it should be noted that workers at all levels seem to have very different experiences. While Workhuman’s report shows workers eager to get back to the office, a few other recent reports suggest employees – exhausted after two years of the pandemic, as well as more recent issues of inflation and global conflict – just want stability. And while workers in some industries are happy with their jobs and have no plans to leave, others are planning something more. a mass exodus.