FlexJobs Survey Says Workers Will Quit Rather Than Return to the Office

One thing is clear after the global pandemic: the way we work is probably not going to return to the 2019 model. FlexJobs, the online platform connecting workers with remote, contract, and flexible work, surveyed more than 2.100 workers who had worked remotely during the pandemic to find out how they viewed returning to the office.

According to the survey, 58 percent say they would absolutely look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely in their current position. 31 percent weren’t sure what they would do and only 11 percent said not being able to continue working remotely was not a big deal to them.

65 percent would prefer to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, while 33 percent would like a combination of remote and in-office work (hybrid work arrangement). Just 2 percent would prefer to return to the traditional office on a full-time basis. (I suspect this group misses the break room brownies.) While workers are most concerned about COVID-19 exposure/infection (49%), having less work flexibility (46%) and less work-life balance (43%) were other key apprehension points in returning to traditional workplaces.

“I’m not surprised to see that more than half of people working remotely during the pandemic, even under these strained and unusual circumstances, appreciate its benefits to such a strong degree that they would leave their current jobs in order to keep working from home,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.

Below is a summary of findings from the 2,181 people surveyed who worked remotely during the pandemic and/or are currently still working remotely. More detailed findings can be found here: URL 

Cost Savings of Working Remotely:

38 percent of people working remotely estimate that they save at least $5,000 a year from remote work (from not eating out, paying for gas and other commuting costs, dry cleaning, etc). One in 5 are saving more than $200/week, which is $10,000+ a year.

Not surprising, cost savings is listed as the 2nd top benefit of working remotely (75%), second only to not having a commute (84%). 

Home Office Setups:

Working from home got more sophisticated as the year went on; more than half of remote workers have a specific home office setup. 24 percent have an actual home office and 34% have created a dedicated home office space. Nine out of 10 remote workers spent money on their home office in 2020. 42 percent spent between $100-$500 while 12% spent more than $1000.

If they secured a permanent remote work arrangement, 37 percent would definitely consider relocating and 31% said they might consider it. Top factors influencing this decision were better quality of life (58%), lower cost of living/housing (47%), and different/better climate (38%). 

Management Preferences:

Most remote workers prefer not to hear from their supervisors more than a few times per week. The ideal number of check ins:

  • A few times per week (31%)
  • 1x/week (27%) 
  • As little as possible (22%)
  • Less than 1 in 5 (18%) prefer to hear from their supervisors more than a couple times a day.
  • Only 14% said relationships with their bosses are harder to manage in a virtual environment.

About Video Meetings:

Attitude: 50 percent of remote workers say they like video meetings (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) compared to only 14% who say that they don’t like them. 33 percent are neutral and 3% didn’t use them.

Pain points: Dealing with technical/software issues (screens freezing, poor audio, etc.) (58%) is the primary pain point with video meetings. Video fatigue (28%), reading non-verbal cues (28%) and background distractions (26%) followed. 

Favorite elements: Not having to travel/drive to meetings (75%), wearing comfortable clothing (58%), the ability to mute (55%) and more scheduling flexibility (51%) were the top favorite elements of video meetings. 

Biggest Challenges of Remote Work:

Overwork/unplugging (35%) is the biggest challenge for remote workers. Dealing with non-work distractions (28%), troubleshooting technology problems (28%) and reliable WiFi (26%) were other top pain points. 

About the survey:

*FlexJobs created the survey, which was promoted to general audiences and its subscribers/members primarily through social media and newsletters. The survey ran from March 17, 2021- April 5, 2021.

 **Demographic breakdown of the 2,181 respondents: Location: United States (72%), Canada (4%) Outside US & Canada (24%) ; Gender: women (74%), men (25%), prefer not to identify (1%); Ages: 24 and under (4%), 25-40 (30%), 41-56 (43%), 57+ (23%); Education: high school degree or equivalent (4%), some college but no degree (12%), associate or bachelor’s degree (49%), graduate degree (35%); Income: over $100,000 (10%), $75,000-$99,999 (11%), $50,000-$74,999 (20%), $25,000-$49,999 (23%), less than $25,000 (23%), and 13% preferred not to answer. 32% had children 18 or younger living at home with them. 

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