“I do not intend to ever again work in an office.”
Offices are increasingly bringing their employees back on site, and some people just don’t want to go.
We’ve heard rumblings for a while now that workers are quitting, or threatening to quit, if they can’t continue to work from home. That’s because for many people remote work has been great—the lack of commute, flexible schedule, and more casual dress have provided a massive quality-of-life boon for many of us, to say nothing of the productivity increases some workers have discovered without regular interruptions from chatty colleagues.
But are people really willing to quit their jobs if they can’t keep working in PJ’s? I’ve been curious about how real the trend is, so I asked readers at my work advice column, Ask a Manager… and ended up pretty surprised by the response.
I heard from an enormous number of people who say that they’ll definitely quit if their job requires them to return to the office. This person speaks for a lot of others:
Not only are many people considering switching jobs if they have to go back to the office, but many have already done it. Here’s a sampling of what I heard:
Of course, that’s not everyone. Plenty of people disliked working at home and are glad to get back to on site. In fact, some of them say they’d leave their jobs if they couldn’t come back to the office:
But managers are reporting unusual amounts of turnover and difficulty finding candidates at companies that won’t allow people to work from home:
So what’s going on? Obviously a big part of it is the appeal of working from home, but the past year has also sparked a great deal of reflection about what’s most important to people and how they want to spend their time. This person speaks for many others:
And after going through the past year—in which many people were asked to bring their work into their homes overnight and managed to keep things running smoothly even while juggling child care, remote learning, and huge amounts of stress—a lot of people just look at their relationship to their employer very differently:
We’re in a moment of reckoning, and employees are claiming power in different ways than they have before. The companies that are best poised to adapt to that new reality are the ones that treat people well, and have been treating people well even when the labor market didn’t make it as much of an imperative. This person’s point is well-taken:
By Alison Green