Most remote employees don’t want to return to the workplace after the pandemic

Jamie BallardData Journalist
January 19, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC

As the vaccine rollout continues in America, businesses that have gone mostly or entirely remote may be considering bringing their employees back to the workplace once it’s safe to do so. But a recent YouGov poll of employees who are working remotely finds that most are enjoying working from home, and very few are interested in returning to the workplace full-time.  

Among those Americans who are currently working from home, 83% say that they like doing so, including a majority (56%) who say they like working from home “a lot”.  

Among those who didn’t typically work at home before the pandemic, 77% say they like the experience. This marks an increase from April 2020, when results of a similar survey found that 56% of those who were working remotely because of the pandemic said that they liked doing so.  

Almost a year into the pandemic, many employees seem to have adjusted to working from home, and most are interested in maintaining this practice. Close to nine in 10 people who are working from home (86%) say they would be interested in continuing to do so after the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of these (64%) say they would be “very interested.” 

When asked about their ideal post-pandemic working environment, 39% of remote workers say it would be “remote full time” while 32% say it would be “remote most of the time, with the option to go into the workplace occasionally.” Relatively few want to be in the physical workplace most (8%) or all (5%) of the time after the pandemic.   

Among those who only started working from home because of the pandemic, just a quarter (24%) would want to stay remote full-time, although another 37% would want to be remote most of the time with the option to go into the workplace. One in five would only want to be remote for half their working hours (19%) while another one in five would prefer to be in the workplace most (12%) or all (8%) of the time when it becomes safe to do so. 

Workers say that no travel and flexible hours are the biggest benefits of working from home, with work-life balance the biggest challenge 

When asked about the perks of working from home, remote workers were especially likely to choose “no commute” (68%) and “flexible hours” (63%) as benefits they’ve experienced. Another 55% say they’ve liked the “ability to dress more casually” and 52% like the “ability to do small household tasks while also working.” 

 

But it’s not all rosy. When asked about the challenges of working from home, 34% say they have found it difficult to manage work with other home duties. A similar number have found it challenging to maintain relationships with colleagues (33%) and cope with distractions from family and other household members (31%). 

See full results here.  

Methodology: YouGov polled 1,600 US adults, 538 of whom reported that they are currently working from home. The survey was conducted on January 12, 2021. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 3.2% for the overall sample and 5.1% for the sample of people currently working from home.    

Image: Getty