- 6.4% of US workers said they would leave their jobs without a backup if they were asked to return to the office 5 days a week.
- The Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes collects monthly data on remote work.
- Half would return without complaint, while 35% said they would return to work, but look elsewhere.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Some 6.4% of US workers say they would quit their jobs on the spot, regardless of whether they had a backup, if their employer asked them to go back to the office for five days a week, according to survey data gathered for June 2021.
The Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes asked employees how they would respond if their employer announced to all workers that they must return to the office from August 1st 2021.
The majority would be happy to comply, with 57.8% of respondents saying they would return to their desks.
However, while they wouldn’t quit outright, 35.8% said they would return but will look for a job that offers working from home.
Other findings from the survey suggest that Monday and Friday are the most popular days to work from home if employees had to choose two, being chosen by 54.1% and 56.6% of respondents respectively.
Managers should be aware of the consequences of not listening to their colleagues
The survey was founded in May 2020 in order to track attitudes and patterns of remote work during the pandemic.
It is jointly run by academics from the University of Chicago, ITAM, and Stanford University and collects monthly surveys of between 2,000 to 5,000 US respondents.
It doesn’t however ask for identifying details, making it harder to draw more specific conclusions other than general sentiment.
Conversations about hybrid work are not straightforward and depend on the needs of the employee and the business, Nick Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford and one of the academics behind the survey, told Insider.
Nevertheless, he said managers should be aware of the potential consequences of asking colleagues to come back to the office.
“The labor market is red hot, plenty of firms are offering people work-from-home packages. So if I’m an employee, this is not an empty threat,” said Bloom.
Other surveys suggest that workers are reassessing their career plans following the pandemic.
In May, 3.6 million US workers left their jobs according to latest figures from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, down slightly from a two-decade-high record in April.
In March 2021, 72% of respondents told Prudential they were reassessing their skillset as a result of the pandemic. A report gathered by the UK insurance firm Aviva suggests that some care less about their career following a year of long hours and burnout – 47% said they were less career-focused, according to the BBC.
With the labor market as it is at present, companies are balancing recruitment against retention, said Bloom. “It’s a direct choice: do you pay higher wages, or do you give better work-life balance and better work perks?”
As the US economy experiences soaring vacancies following the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are turning to more generous and creative means as a way to retain and recruit new staff.