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34% of WFH (work from home) workers say they’d rather quit than return to full-time office work

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New survey shows 34% of workers would rather quit than give up their WFH (work-from-home) arrangement (photo by ScreenPost via Unsplash)

A new survey of WFH (work-from-home) employees suggests that many are not yet ready to return to the office. In fact, they may never be ready.

The survey found that 34% of WFH respondents say they would rather quit than return to a full-time office job.

Will WFH jobs become the norm?

The survey was published by staffing firm Robert Half. It involved more than 1,000 adult employees of US companies, all of whom are currently working from home due to the pandemic.

As mentioned above, more than 1 in 3 said they would look for a new job if they had to again work in the office full time.

  • Related news: A new study of 2,000 Americans who have been working from home during the pandemic has found that 76% say the shift to remote work has improved their relationships with their co-workers (i.e. the co-workers they never actually see anymore).

Just under half of all the surveyed WFH employees (49%) said they would prefer a hybrid work arrangement, dividing their time between the office and another location. Likewise, 26% said they want to remain fully remote, and 25% wanted to return to a full-time office situation.

Easing the transition: relax the hours and the dress code

The survey also reveals what employers can do to help “ease” the transition back to office life.

For example, the most important aspect that the surveyed employees mentioned is the freedom. Above all, that means freedom to set their own office hours.

They’ve also grown increasingly fond of the highly-personalized workspace that WFH jobs allow for. Along the same lines, they indicated that WFH provides a more distraction-free environment. That includes, for example, not needing to make chit-chat with co-workers.

The WFH survey respondents also said they prefer the “relaxed” dress code that they’ve grown used to at home.

And if they do need to come back to the office, even part-time, employees said they expect some changes. For example, they’d want their employer to cover their commuting costs, and also provide some form of childcare.


Backgrounder: the pros and cons of working from home

For some, the phrase phrases evoke images of laptop-wielding hipsters lounging in their PJs all day. But for many, it’s a way to balance work and family life while earning an income.

The WFH lifestyle may be your thing if you are a person who likes to work independently and enjoy the flexibility of setting their own schedule.

wfh - Photo by James McDonald on Unsplash

Whether you’re considering wfh or are already working remotely, the below guide tells you everything you need to know. This resource is designed to help you navigate the first few weeks of working from home to make it easier to start. We share how to decide if a WFH situation is for you, and how to get the most out of it.

I. The 10 key benefits of WFH / work from home:

As we discuss below, the WFH lifestyle is often suited for people who crave independence and freedom, but it’s not for everyone. What are the most important “positive” aspects?

  1. You don’t have to commute into an office every day, which means you will save money on gas and clothing expenses.
  2. The work hours can be more flexible because they depend on your location in relation to where other team members are located.
  3. You do not have to worry about spending a lot of time getting ready in the morning and going through your routine before you head into work.
  4. Remote work can actually help you take on more responsibility, which in turn grows your career more than you would have if you’d stayed in the same static office environment.
  5. There will probably be an increase in your productivity when you’re not traveling back into a city for meetings and can’t wait until after hours to finish assignments at the office.
  6. Me time: if your company allows it, it’s often a great idea to take advantage of the time you have to yourself, especially if you have children.
  7. Working at home gives you time to work uninterrupted, set your own schedule, and connect with your kids at home.
  8. It also enables you to work when and where you want to, without the obligations of an office.
  9. Work-life balance: You can set up a schedule that enables regular work, but also work-life balance.
  10. Less stress: The day-to-day responsibility of managing a business is often the cause of stress. But working from home is usually much more stress-free.

II. Three reasons why is WFH / work from home is not always the best choice

The WFH lifestyle is not for everyone. Some people may find working remotely to be an ideal way of balancing work and life, but others might find it challenging to get out on with their work. Below are some of the disadvantages of remote work:

  1. You might have trouble with taking lunch breaks that consist of sitting on your own.
  2. You may not feel like you are as productive because you do not have any supervision.
  3. You might find it difficult to work remotely and be out of the loop on what’s going on in the office.

III. Consider these 10 points before deciding whether WFH is right for you

Before you jump into such a big change, consider the points below. Having a good think about whether the WFH lifestyle matches your lifestyle is important, otherwise you’ll find yourself constantly feeling frustrated and stressed.

best remote office setup - Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels
  1. Consider your commute. If you currently have a 30-minute or longer drive to work, WFH might be the right choice for you!
  2. Decide if you can adapt your schedule. Will there be someone at home to watch children while working from home.
  3. Can I afford it financially or will my family be negatively impacted by this change in lifestyle?
  4. Where am I located geographically, so that the location where other team members are working matches up with me?
  5. Do I need constant supervision on what’s happening at work while also being able to focus on completing tasks as quickly as possible without any distractions from coworkers or supervisors coming over to chat periodically throughout the day? If so, then remote work might not be ideal because there won’t be anyone telling you when to start working, when you’re done for the day and everything in between.
  6. Do I need a formal office space with a desk, or can I just work from home with a laptop?
  7. Will I need any special training before starting WFH? A company should offer work from home essentials like telecommuting policies along with ongoing managerial support if they want their employees to succeed.
  8. Are there any everyday tasks or chores that I need to perform in order to stay productive while WFH?
  9. Another thing you need to take into consideration before making this decision would be how you feel about long periods of solitude (some people crave alone time but others don’t) or if your family situation will make being away from them difficult on a regular basis.
  10. Check your motivation for wanting to work from home: is it because you’re a single parent who wants more control over their schedule? Or do you want the flexibility of working remotely so that there are fewer days when morning sickness prevents going into work?

IV. You company’s WFH policy

Most employers probably already have a WFH policy by this point. If not, then it’s time for your manager to create one. A good WFH policy should consist of the following points:

cozy WFH space - Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash
  1. How often you will be required to work remotely, and how long those days are. For example, a day here or there from home may not require too much follow up with your team members while working on projects that don’t need intense supervision; whereas if you’re at home every day for a long time, then you’ll need to maintain regular communication with your team members who are in the office and regularly check-in.
  2. Your work schedule while WFH: Will it be flexible or fixed? For example, if you know that Mondays will always be at home because of doctor’s appointments/meetings etc., then plan accordingly so that there won’t be any surprises when Monday rolls around again. You should also make sure to communicate this information clearly to your coworkers and supervisors so they don’t think something is wrong which could lead them into unproductive conversations trying figure out what might have happened.
  3. Setting expectations upfront: It can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes before starting work on an assignment (depending on things like your work style and the type of assignment).
  4. Maintaining high-quality: It’s important to maintain a level of quality, even when you’re remote. You don’t want to send an email or leave a voicemail that sounds rushed because it won’t be as effective as one that was carefully crafted and well thought out.
  5. Setting boundaries with coworkers/supervisors: Some people may not know how to approach someone who is WFH so they might have questions about what you are doing (when really there is no need for concern!). A good way to handle this situation would be telling them upfront–you can say something like “I am working remotely today” rather than lead into awkward conversation by mentioning that you actually live in another city.
  6. Dealing with distractions: It is very easy to get distracted both working at home and remote because you have a lot of things going on–children, pets, household chores. The trick here is finding the right work environment for yourself so that you can focus when it’s time to do your job.

V. Work from Home essentials: what you need to get your home office started

work from home - Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

Comfy chair? Check. Spacious desk space? Check. Remote working requires a basic infrastructure, such as a laptop, good internet connection and a comfortable work space.

Prepare your workspace with the technology and tools that will help you feel more comfortable at home–a desk lamp for reading documents or providing light during late hours, book shelves for storing reference materials without cluttering up space in your room, etc.

1. Wi-fi and Internet Connection

Wi-fi is essential for a good work from home experience. It’s crucial to have a reliable internet connection for the next few days. SaaS tools and video calls can require a large amount of bandwidth in the U.S. Use this type of connection to make sure you don’t have to have multiple times a day to make calls to the other end of video calls. The best way to keep your home Wi-Fi on track is to have an easy and reliable connection.

2. A good headset

If your WFH job requires a lot of phone calls, consider purchasing an affordable headset with noise cancellation so that it’s easier to have conversations in peace!

3. Work from home software and apps

If you’re planning to spend the next few months at home, you’re going to want some work-friendly software and apps. There are many choices available for different operating systems – PC or Mac.

Depending you your company culture, what tools your colleagues use, and what type of business you’ll be working on, you might need to emphasize different aspects of work from home apps and software, such as their ease of of collaboration, project management, and training. Will you mainly be working in teams, or on personal projects?

If your company expects you to stay connected or otherwise be on call throughout the day, then cloud-based tools are the way to go: they’ll allow you to manage “working from home” even when you’re at the local cafe. Many free group tools like Slack, Dropbox and Google Drive already exist. Some handy comparison resources are here.

If your company or teams have specific software requirements, then schedule a call or meeting with your team before you invest in any expensive work from home resources.

4. Location location

The first thing remote workers should do is find the right place to set up their office. If you have a spare room at home, that’s ideal. But even if not, then make sure your office space is just that, and not a living room or bedroom.

And while a home office will likely suffice for some people, others may want an alternative like co-working spaces or coffee shops. In fact. WFH can simply mean you’re not working from your dedicated office. Your alternate workplace could be a cafe, a park — anywhere you feel productive. Some of us don’t feel comfortable without a physical separation between work and home, and that’s ok.

Many people benefit from a mixed mode of working as it provides some separation and a little relief from cabin fever.

Another option is a “hot desking” setup where employees can come in any time during the day and use one of many available desks that have been assigned only to them on a particular day.

5. Lighting matters

Natural light is best for your eyes, but if you don’t have access to windows (or they’re too small), try using lamps with daylight bulbs and glare-free task lighting.

All these things factor into work life balance when working from home–having the right tools can make all the difference between being able to focus and feeling overwhelmed.

VI. The best work from home tips

1. Find your perfect work-life balance

Remote workers need to make sure they have a good work-life balance if their job involves managing others remotely in addition to their own tasks. This means ensuring that remote employees are still involved and feel appreciated by the company, even when not physically present at HQ every day of the week.

2. Schedule breaks

A lunch and two 15-minute breaks seem to be the standard for full-time US employees. Stand up and move every so often, at least once an hour, to get your blood circulating. If you’re self-employed, give yourself adequate time to walk away from the computer screen and phone. It also helps to move your eyes off screen regularly, even if it’s a micro-break of 10-20 seconds. For computer-based work and other sedentary work, it’s important to stand up.

3. Thinking about wow WFH affects salary and prestige?

For some people, WFH is seen as more prestigious than working at an office every day because they get their own space (even if it means living in a tiny apartment). But others depend on the traditional prestige of a job to feel good about themselves, and work from home can make them feel less successful.

4. And in case you missed it, just what is the WFH acronym anyway?

What is WFH, you’re asking? It’s a common question these days. If you Google WFH, you’ll quickly find that WFH stands for “Work from Home.”


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