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Survey: Workers Fearful About Full-Time Return to Office

A survey of nearly 4,000 workers U.S. uncovered deep-rooted fears of returning to the office on a full-time basis.

The survey conducted by LiveCareer found almost half (43%) of workers are more afraid of returning to the office than getting divorced, and 53% fear in-office work more than climate change.

However, when asked what they feared more: 

  • 41% said they are more afraid of working in an office full time for the rest of their life than getting into a car accident.
  • 41% said they are more afraid of working in an office full time for the rest of their life than natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes).
  • More than one-third (34%) are more afraid of working in an office full time for the rest of their life than having $10,000 stolen.

“If the prospect of going through a divorce or the life-altering effects of climate change seem less daunting to the workforce than going back to the office, it’s time to rethink the uptick in return-to-office mandates,” said Eric Ciechanowski, career expert at LiveCareer. “The flexibility that remote and hybrid models offer seem to be a necessity now, not a choice. Organizations that embrace this approach will stand out when attracting top talent.”

The workforce has come to recognize the value and benefits of flexible work arrangements — even those who were initially doubtful of working remotely. Nearly half (44%) said they were skeptical that remote work would be successful before they tried it.

  • However, the majority (71%) now prefer working remotely 100% of the time, with women (73%) preferring it more than men (63%).
  • Another 22% of respondents prefer a hybrid model.
  • Currently, 49% said they don’t enjoy traditional office work.

Positive impacts of remote work:

  • 82% said working remotely is better for their mental health than working on-site.
  • 79% said that working remotely is less stressful than working on-site.
  • 62% said their overall job satisfaction is greatest when they work remotely 100% of the time.
  • 60% felt most productive working remotely 100% of the time.
  • 58% felt most motivated working remotely 100% of the time.

The report also highlighted that the vast majority (89%) of workers enjoy working remotely.

The findings presented were obtained by surveying 3,853 American respondents Feb. 7-15. Participants were asked about their work preferences. They answered different types of questions, including yes/no, open-ended, scale-based questions where respondents indicated their level of agreement with statements and multiple-choice where they could select from a list of provided options.

For detailed insights on the LiveCareer Fears and Remote Work Report, access the full survey results at livecareer.com/resources/remote-work-fears-and-sentiments or contact Nathan Barber at nathan.barber@bold.com.

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