Roughly Half of Americans Want to Return to the Office at Least Some of the Time - But Mostly to See Their Work Friends, Not Their Bosses
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Roughly half of Americans want to return to the office at least a few days a week — but for many, it's to see their work friends, not their boss.
That's according to a new survey from workplace technology firm Envoy, which questioned 1,000 full- and part-time workers in the US about returning to the workplace in order to gauge employee sentiment one year after the start of the pandemic. The survey found that most adults are concerned about the health and safety risks of reopening offices, but are also hoping to adopt a hybrid work arrangement.
Envoy found that 48% of workers would like a mix of working from home and coming into the office, with 41% saying they'd be willing to trade a higher salary for the ability to work remotely part of the time, and 47% saying they would leave their current job if their company didn't offer a hybrid option post-pandemic.
When it comes to actually coming into the office, it seems many workers want to do so for the ability to collaborate with their coworkers in person. The survey found that 39% would base their schedule around what they need to get done that day, and 37% would decide when to visit the office based on who else will be there that day — among office workers, that portion was higher, with 52% saying they would plan their schedules around their coworkers'.
And it seems that some employees are missing their colleagues: 23% said they would return to the office to see their friends versus 18% who said they'd return to get time with their boss.
A work model that mixes remote work with coming into a physical office to collaborate with others is increasingly looking like the most likely outcome when office life can return to some form of normalcy, with major companies like Amazon and Google saying they'll likely adopt some type of hybrid model for their employees.
Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, who will take over as Amazon's chief executive in the third quarter of this year, told CNBC in December that he predicts most people will adopt a hybrid work model and that he expects the future of work to be "hot offices."
"My suspicion is that a lot of these office buildings will start to evolve from being optimized for individual offices or cube space to being hot offices where you decide which day you're going to come in and then you reserve a desk," Jassy said.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has doubled down on the importance of in-person collaboration: Pichai said during a video interview for Time 100 in September that he doesn't think "the future is just 100% remote."
"We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new," he said.
Google and Amazon are just a few of the companies that have announced they're rethinking the future of work: Travel giant Trivago, real estate firm Zillow, software firm VMware, and cloud-computing giant Salesforce have all said they're adopting some type of hybrid model of working going forward.