Back to the office: what we want today (and in the future) from remote work

Gianluca Riccio

Discoveries

A Gallup study shows us what will remain of remote work after Covid. And the figures of the estimates are those of a revolution.

The pandemic has created many "firsts" on the planet. One of these, we have talked about it many times, is the largest social experiment in history on remote work. It has revolutionized the way we work and expect to work in the future.

The organizational return to office life is leading to a new chapter in this exciting "novel" involving employees and employers. The next trend is to combine the flexibility of remote working with that of on-site working. This is still a nascent phase, while in 2022 the number of workers returning to the workplace at least partially every week will increase.

Un important Gallup study it tells us many things. First and foremost: Back to the office and long-term remote work strategy will require a clear understanding of how companies are structuring the flexibility of remote work and what works best for employees.

The answers: the present…

Here are the key points of the study, which closely observes the US "case", but with numbers very similar to those of large European cities and of employees of technology companies.

Currently about 56% of full-time employees (in the US we are talking about 70 million workers) can do his job remotely. Of remote workers, currently: 50% work in hybrid mode (part at home, part on site). 30% work exclusively remotely. 20% work exclusively in presence.

…and the future of remote working

If we talk about prospects, the picture definitely changes. Hybrid working has already increased this year, from 42% in February to 50% in June. And it is expected to increase further in the next semester, up to 55% of workers with remote skills. This is very close to that of workers' expectations: 60% of them, in fact, want a long-term hybrid employment agreement.

While 34% of workers would like to work entirely from home, remote work arrangements will drop to 20% within the next year.

remote work

What remains: a revolution

It was clear, we told each other several times, that the Covid Tsunami would not leave the world as it found it. This is especially true when it comes to remote work. In fact, all remote labor agreements will triple compared to 2019 figures. And that's still not enough.

Either way, this back-to-office phase has a clear message for us: full on-site work will remain a relic of the past.

In fact, only 6% of the workforce wants a future in which work will only be completely face-to-face. A total revolution (even more evident at a glance when looking at the graph). 63 million people with a firm intention change things radically.

remote work

Because things will not go back to the way they used to be

It's not just a matter of abstract desires. This is where the science comes in: Employees who don't work in their preferred position have significantly lower engagement. They perform poorly and are more likely to leave. Behavioral economics teaches us that people do not like to give up things they have acquired: we are loss averse by nature. This is why many employees who work in hybrid or fully remote modes expect permanent remote flexibility.

  • 6 out of 10 employees exclusively remote are “extremely likely to change companies” if remote flexibility is not offered;
  • 3 out of 10 employees in hybrid work they are “extremely likely to change companies” if remote flexibility is not offered.

I repeat, these are figures of a revolution.

Remote work, what employers should do

Making the right decisions today, planning for the future, and adapting as you learn requires a solid understanding of your employees' work experiences, and how they are changing. 

For this reason, business leaders must seriously evaluate the current status of remote work, the business needs and the risks of not listening to the needs of employees.

Because the UN report certifies that human development with Covid went back 5 years, it is true. But on this thing he has progressed.