Work from home? Survey says "Yes"

Pretty much everyone wants to work at home. Here's why employers should take note.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

Increasingly, employers in many sectors are allowing or even encouraging their traditional employees to work remotely, and for good reason. Turns out a huge number of workers place remote work at the top of the priority list.

Who can blame them? No chilly office air conditioning. No bathroom politics.

Employers that have embargoed remote work outright would do well to pay attention to the seismic shift in worker sentiment on the matter. Consider this: More than 1 in 4 U.S. knowledge workers have quit a job because the company didn't offer flexible or remote work options.

That's one finding of a just-released study, The Remote Work Report by Zapier, an automation app for small business and one of the first and largest companies to have an entirely remote workforce. Zapier commissioned a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll which surveyed U.S. knowledge workers (employed adults that work in front of a computer) for a detailed look at remote work.

The headline? Nearly everyone wants to work remotely, at least part of the time. Some 74% of respondents said they'd be willing to quit their job to work at home, and more than 1 in 4 said they already have quit a job because the company didn't offer flexible or remote work options.

Among the reasons people want to work remotely, work-life balance ranked high, but there were other factors at play as well. Nearly 1 in 4 people want to work remotely because it's more environmentally sustainable and 1 in 5 said it's because they want to spend more time with their pets.

Women, at least those surveyed in this poll, value working from home more, but are less likely to have the option Women in the survey were more likely than men to say the option to work remotely is one of the work perks they would most prefer to be offered by an employer (62% vs. 53%) yet, despite this, there are significant gender disparities for work from home options. A full 40% of female employees say they don't work remotely because their company doesn't allow it compared to just 25% of men.

Those companies that take a hard line on remote work would do well to rethink their stance. Many employees (42%) believe they are most productive working from home, while just under a third (32%) feel they get more done in an office.

There's also the competitive advantage factor. In a tight labor market, a company that has a work-from-home option has a huge advantage, even over companies that may have more attractive compensation packages. 

The fact is, the majority of workers believe the traditional workplace will be obsolete within the next decade, with most positions done remotely. Roughly two in three knowledge workers (66%) believe the traditional office setting will be obsolete for most roles by 2030.

If you're an employer, that should raise an eyebrow.

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