Remote Workers Quitting Rather Than Returning to the Office

workers quitting

By Carson Tate on August 12, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way many businesses and organizations do work, but it seems that many of the changes may not be temporary. Employees had to do a mad scramble to learn how to master applications like Zoom to connect online and succeed working remotely. The fact is many workforce teams did work successfully from home. Work got done, and businesses adapted. Now, many business leaders want their employees to put the heels and suits back on, suffer the commute, and return to their cubicles. And many employees–who could blame them–don’t want to.  

Discussions of this now commonplace issue are occurring in boardrooms and C-suite offices all over the country. How do we solve this issue? For one thing, it’s a workers’ economy right now. Many companies, restaurants, and stores can’t maintain their hours or services because they can’t find people willing to work for them. Many employees are putting work on hold because of the continued COVID pandemic, while others are unwilling to work for the pay rate, benefits, or inflexible work conditions that many companies offer.  

Progressive businesses, however, who want to retain and attract talent are considering alternatives to mandatory return-to-work dates and exploring the benefits of maintaining a remote workforce. Suppose you’re considering creating or maintaining work from home jobs and managing a remote team. In that case, you may find it easier to navigate this tumultuous time and still operate a successful operation. 

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Why Won’t They Come Back?

First, not all employees can or want to work from home. Forbes published an article earlier this year and reported that a mere 3% of surveyed entrepreneurs and employees wanted to return full-time to a physical workplace office. Everyone else? They want to work from home or, at the very least, work part-time from home and part-time at the office.  

Employees know that work gets done. They’re productive and living up to their work responsibilities–albeit while wearing lounge pants. Cuddled up with the dog and the laptop on the couch is a powerful incentive for people after a year of braving a potentially lethal contagion and pondering their career decisions. Collectively, we’re all figuring out that we want to enjoy our lives while we still can.  

Working from home means fewer interruptions from colleagues we don’t especially want to see every day; a less stressful commute, fewer expenses for lunch, Starbucks, and gas; and the ability to work in our comfortable environments where we can drink our own coffee, and listen to Mozart, Fleetwood Mac, or Pantera in the background. What’s not to love? That kind of workplace culture–it’s impossible for any employer to beat! 

Benefits of Maintaining a Remote Workforce

To retain a workforce at full force, many companies are taking steps to prevent workers from wanting to quit their jobs. They’re developing hybrid work plans with some remote work and creating completely remote work jobs. Should your business develop a remote workforce team? Here are some advantages to consider: 

Geography Is No Obstacle

When you develop a remote team, you can hire talented applicants from anywhere (provided they have solid internet access). Geographical obstacles no longer limit you. Suddenly, your talent pool grows exponentially.  

Reduce Expense

Many companies, even Fortune 500s, are reducing overhead by closing some offices or reducing office space by allowing more employees the option to work from home. According to one stat published by Global Workplace Analytics, companies can save up to $11,000 per remote worker. Businesses can save on real estate costs, but they can also reduce their utility and equipment costs. 

Improved Productivity

Companies had a real fear that employees who worked from home would “slack off” and wouldn’t accomplish work. What they’re finding is that productivity is terrific–in most cases. It’s been a mindset adjustment for managers who have long made a practice of keeping tabs on their employees and looking over their shoulders to make sure they’re on task. They have to get over the fact that, yes, many remote workers will take an unscheduled break to toss in a load of laundry. Still, employees seem to remember that they owe work for their paycheck and benefits, and they don’t want to lose the luxury of earning a living from home, so they tend to work hard.  

Company Achieves a Competitive Edge

By developing a remote workforce, many companies find that they’ve got an edge over their competitors who continue to think inside the box–and the office cubicle. Employees want to work remotely and may be less inclined to quit a remote job (unless it’s to accept a different remote job, which is another story). Companies will find it easier to retain great employees and attract top-tier candidates in search of more flexible work options.  

Whether it’s to save money on the commute or achieve a better work-life balance, workers today want to work from home when possible. It’s an issue that’s still evolving. Still, businesses that want to manage a happy workforce and maintain their operation success should consider the benefits of remote work carefully before setting that mandatory “come back to the office or else” policy.

Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies.

She is the author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, and just released, Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job. Order your copy HERE! For more information, please visit www.carsontate.com.