A new research study by RingCentral found that while the majority of American workers (80%) have the freedom to work from anywhere as 2021 draws to a close, a very small percentage (12%) believe that this same freedom will carry forward into the new year. The survey also revealed that if forced back into the office, 1 out of 3 Americans will leave their job.
In fact, 52% of workers said they’d rather wash their dishes and 40% said they’d rather clean their toilet at home than commute to the office, clearly highlighting their lack of desire to be back in the office.
RingCentral conducted this survey in collaboration with Ipsos, a multinational market research and consulting firm, and questioned 9,000 workers in five countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany. The survey was conducted with a desire to understand the impact of the pandemic on the workforce across various elements including, but not limited to, isolation, loneliness, a desire to connect, meeting new colleagues, confidence in return to office plans, and others.
The results bring to light a big disparity between business decision makers1 and workers2 across the following elements. Some highlights include:
- Isolation: 46% of business decision makers felt isolated and lonely, while working from home compared to only 34% of workers
- Impact of loneliness on ability to do their job: 47% of the business decision makers who feel lonely due to remote work, believe it is impacting their ability to do their job
- Desire to connect more: 43% of business decision makers say they want to connect more with employees and therefore want to return to the office compared to only 16% of workers
- Meeting new colleagues: 59% of business decision makers claim that they are working with colleagues they have never met compared to only 36% of workers, which is rapidly driving the desire of business decision makers to go back to the office
- Confidence in return to office plans: 74% of business decision makers are confident in their employer’s plan for return to office vs. 52% of workers
Conversely, the survey results also bring to life that workers are happier now than they were at the beginning of the pandemic and have adjusted to either working remotely or in a hybrid environment.
“Our survey clearly indicates that while workers are feeling stable and settled, business decision makers have a greater desire to come to the office,” said Gunjan Aggarwal, executive vice president and chief people officer at RingCentral. “The data also supports the narrative that if organizations do not proactively co-create with their employees a new hybrid model focused on productivity and engagement, some employees will leave their organizations and others will feel disenfranchised. There is no doubt that the future of work will be hybrid but what’s becoming clear is that employees will have a bigger say, than ever before, on what that flexibility and hybrid work means to them and suits their needs.”
Additional survey highlights include:
1. The world has adapted and stabilized: respondents are happier, healthier, and more empathetic than ever:
- 50% of workers report being happier at work
- Parents are two times more likely to indicate that they are happier now than they were pre-pandemic than those that do not have children.
- 57% say working hybrid or remotely during COVID made them more empathetic towards people
- 74% of U.S. workers believe COVID has led to increased reliance on collaboration tools
2. The Great Divide:
- Gen Z and Millennials vs. Gen X and Boomers
43% of Gen Z and millennials are likely to seek new employment if forced back to the office compared to 24% of Gen X and boomers
- Parents vs. Non parents
46% of parents will seek another job if their current employer changes the work model to a more in-person approach to working while only 27% of non parents are likely to change their jobs if forced to go back to the office
- Business Decision Makers vs. Non-Business Decision Makers:
49% of business decision-makers prefer working in an office compared to 38% of non-decision makers
3. The feelings of return to work ring true across the world
- In both Australia and France, 86% of workers believe their employers are making their work environments as safe as possible to reduce their risk of contracting COVID.
6-in-10 Australian workers would still rather work from home than in the office.
In France, the majority of French parents are more likely to consider remote work.
- In the UK, while 84% of workers are confident in their employer’s return to work plans, 66% of office workers claimed that they prefer to continue working from home as opposed to in the office
- In Germany, while 93% of workers are confident in their employer’s return to work plans, 1 in 3 still expect to work from home
4. Human connection has changed forever but not vanished:
The study has found that there is a certain sense of stability and neutrality in today’s workers. While 71% of Americans say that the way they connect with other people has changed, people are feeling settled and stable in their current environments.
- Physical distance isn’t a barrier: 60 percent of Americans don’t feel isolated in a work-from-home environment and claimed that connecting online through voice/video was as good as in-person communication.
- 69% say connecting online through voice or video calls is as good as in-person for work-related tasks
- 4 out of 5 (78%) colleagues who use voice communications say they feel more connected to each other
- 54% say connecting online through voice or video calls is as good as in-person for work-related tasks
- 62% of American workers believe that voice or video calls can be as effective as in-person communication for building personal relationships with coworkers
1 Business decision makers are defined as those with senior title, influence purchasers, influence hiring, financial responsibility, and approve work schedules for employees
2 Workers are defined as those who do not fall under any of the above listed categories
RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE: RNG) is a leading provider of business cloud communications and contact centre solutions based on its powerful Message Video Phone™ (MVP®) global platform. More flexible and cost effective than legacy on-premises PBX and video conferencing systems that it replaces, RingCentral empowers modern mobile and distributed workforces to communicate, collaborate, and connect via any mode, any device, and any location. RingCentral offers three key products in its portfolio including RingCentral MVP™, a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform including team messaging, video meetings, and cloud phone system; RingCentral Video®, the company’s video meetings solution with team messaging that enables Smart Video Meetings™; and RingCentral cloud Contact Center solutions. RingCentral’s open platform integrates with leading third-party business applications and enables customers to easily customize business workflows. RingCentral is headquartered in Belmont, California, and has offices around the world.