Study shows workers split on benefits of remote work vs. on-site

Hybrid workers saw the most benefits in terms of work culture, according to a survey done by ADP Research Institute.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

ADP Research Institute released a study on Thursday capturing the insights of 9,000 full-time US employees working remotely and now on-site.

The survey was emblematic of the varied debate over the merits of remote work versus office work. Both remote workers and on-site workers report benefits and drawbacks of each, with most ultimately favoring a hybrid model. 

The "On-site, Remote or Hybrid: Employee Sentiment On The Workplace" report found that remote workers believed their teams "possess a collective energy that transcends physical separation," and 62% of remote workers said their team was collaborative compared to 47% of on-site workers. 

Remote workers also found their teams more supportive (66% of remote workers) and less "gossipy" or "cliquish" compared to their peers on-site. According to the report, remote workers felt like leadership teams were more accepting of innovative ideas and solutions. 

The survey found that remote workers reported a far more vibrant culture of sharing than on-site workers.

But on-site workers reported their own benefits, including less time on work-related communication and meetings as well as a shorter workday and a cleaner distinction between work and home. 

On-site workers spend 15% of their typical workday communicating with teams on Zoom, Teams, Slack or other platforms, while remote workers spend 25% of their day on similar tasks. 

Across sectors, on-site employees work on average an hour less each day, according to the report. Workers also report feeling more connected to their co-workers in person and improved communication.

The study also found that most employees, both working remotely and on-site, believe managers "prefer" those working in person over those working remotely. To back that up, 59% of managers told the researchers that they do prefer on-site employees. 

Hybrid workers, as the report showed, have the best of both worlds. Nearly 80% of hybrid workers said they had stronger connections with their coworkers, more than fully on-site workers, and the bump was notably high among parents of children under 18. 

More than 71% of hybrid workers reported that they receive constructive feedback, far outpacing the 57% of on-site workers and 64% of remote workers who said the same. 

ADP chief economist Nela Richardson said the changes made during the pandemic might force employers to reflect on lessons learned over the past year and utilize them to identify the right approach that will meet the specific needs of their business and their employees, especially as they continue to navigate the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

"For our latest study, we set out to understand employees' perspectives of on-site, remote and hybrid work so employers can decide how to move forward. Though there are perceived opportunities and challenges for both remote work and on-site work, the strongest findings reveal the answer lies somewhere in the middle, with a hybrid arrangement," Richardson said. 

"As organizations carefully plan their next steps with the safety of their employees in mind, there is an opportunity for companies to weave these perks and preferences into their approach to create the most ideal scenario for employees and the organization."

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