Over 70 million American workers feel their job can be done from home, according to a new poll from Gallup.
94% of respondents in remote-capable jobs say they’d prefer to work hybrid or remote in the future.
Six in ten fully remote employees said they’d be “extremely likely to change companies” if not offered long-term remote work options.
In 2019, just 5.7% of people in the U.S. worked from home. Two years later, that number jumped to nearly 18%.
Despite this surge, there’s an ongoing effort from employers to get their teams to come back to work. Labor Day was the deadline for many companies with return-to-office policies. From Goldman Sachs to Apple and Disney, mid and large-sized companies across sectors made it clear they want to bump up hours spent on-site.
It remains to be seen if these measures will accomplish their intended objectives. But one thing is clear: most employees prefer a hybrid or fully-remote solution. That’s what Gallup discovered with their latest survey of more than 8,000 remote-capable U.S. employees.
Here are the key findings.
1. More than 70 million workers say their job can be done from home
Workers who want flexibility moving forward have a real-life case study on their side—and for many, the last two years proved to be an eye-opening period. Today, about 55% of full-time employees in the U.S. say their job can be done from home.
Yet just because a job can be done from home, hybrid work is hardly the default. Gallup’s polling shows that half of remote-capable employees are in hybrid work arrangements, with three in ten being fully remote and two in ten remaining completely on-site.
As workers gain confidence in their ability to perform from anywhere, hybrid work as a labor force trend seems poised to keep accelerating. Since 2019, the percentage of employers offering hybrid work options has nearly doubled, jumping from 22% to 40%.
2. 94% of respondents say they’d prefer to work hybrid or remote in the future
On-site work is feeling more and more antiquated (at least if you ask modern workers). Just 6% of the 70 million remote-capable employees in the US prefer to return to the office five days a week.
Some companies are ready to commit to optimizing their hybrid workforce for the long haul. According to A.Team’s 2022 Tech Work Report, 62% of founders and executives acknowledge that shifting to a flexible work model has increased employee productivity.
It’s not just tech that’s coming around, either. Even remote work’s staunchest critics—such as JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, who once remarked that WFH “doesn’t work for people who want to hustle”—are adopting a one day in, one day out or three-day-in-the-office model.
3. Fewer options for flexible work may equal higher turnover
Gallup’s research revealed that employees who aren’t able to work in their preferred locations have “significantly lower engagement,” which translates to higher rates of burnout and a stronger desire to quit.
For fully-remote employees, this sentiment is especially acute; six in ten said they’d be “extremely likely to change companies” if not offered long-term remote work options.
This demonstrates what behavioral economists call loss aversion. Individuals tend to rate a potential loss as being worse than any equivalent gains—and in the context of remote work, it’s a crucial consideration.
“I feel like I’m being punished,” one employee of a bank in Florida told the Washington Post after getting the news they’d need to come back into the office after more than two years of WFH.
Employees are unlikely to give up flexible work arrangements without a fight. That means there are serious trade-offs to evaluate when building the workplace of the future.