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Survey: U.S. workers unwilling to deal with a return to commuting to the office

Posted by Deepshikha Shukla

January 27, 2022    |     3-minute read (486 words)

RingCentral, in conjunction with market research firm Ipsos, surveyed 2,000 American, British, French and Australian full-time employees from ages 21 to 65 and 1,000 German full-time employees from ages 21 to 65 on their feelings about the return to work. Here we’ve recapped the survey’s key findings.

An international dislike for commuting

People who’ve worked from home for close to two years now have learned that their work is manageable remotely, and many are unwilling to give it up, the survey suggests.

Most U.S. respondents ranked household tasks ahead of going to the office full time. Some 52% said they would prefer to wash dishes than commute to the office, and 40% said they’d rather clean their toilet. Around 33% of U.S. respondents said they would leave their jobs if they were forced to return to the office.

Finding for international survey respondents:

  • Among UK workers, 47% would rather wash dishes than commute to work; 37% would rather clean their toilet.
  • Among Australian workers, 40% would rather wash dishes than commute to work; 30% would rather clean the toilet, go to the dentist or do their taxes.
  • Among German workers, 29% would prefer to wash dishes versus commuting to work; 20% would rather clean the toilet.
  • 26% of French workers would rather wash dishes than commute to work; 18% would rather clean the toilet.
Disparate views: Business decision-makers versus employees

Business leaders who think their workers want to return to the office should consider taking a reality check before it’s too late. A separate survey by the Future Forum of 10,569 knowledge workers in the U.S., Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K. also shows a chasm between business decision-makers and workers when it comes to the prospect of returning to the office.  

The survey, conducted July 28, 2021, to Aug. 10, 2021, found:

  • The “great executive-employee disconnect” is a major driver of the Great Resignation.
  • Flexibility ranks second only to compensation for employee job satisfaction. 
  • While 44% of executive-level respondents want to return to 100% in-office work, only 17% of employees feel the same.
In other words, employees are more than four times as likely than executives to want to keep working remotely. Yet many executives are banking on a return to the office.

Takeaway

A failure to address the chasm between employers and their leaders about a return to on-site work could spell a crisis for companies in terms of hiring, retention and engagement. While executives are clamoring to get back to the office, employees expect flexibility.

In the words of RingCentral Chief People Officer Gunjan Aggarwal: “Although there is a push to get folks back in the office, if organizations are not careful and rock the boat beyond what is acceptable to their employee base, employees are likely to leave their organizations in droves - leading to a massive talent deficit.”

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