Over the last few years, the core of how we think about work itself has changed significantly. Among those major shifts has been the overall attitude towards work-from-home and hybrid work, with the hybrid trend attempting to combine the flexibility of WFH with the necessities of on-site presence for some positions. With these new modes of work, the hope is that employees can enjoy both work-life balance and good old-fashioned collaboration and community, all aimed at keeping workers engaged and feeling positive.

To better understand the current (and future) state of remote and hybrid work, Gallup surveyed over 8,000 remote-capable U.S. employees in June 2022. The results provide some notable observations about what workers really think about working partially or fully from home.

At the heart of the remote work trend is the simple perception that many jobs can be done just as well remotely. 56% of full-time U.S. employees (totaling over 70 million workers nationwide) report that their jobs can be performed working from home. Among these remote-capable employees, 49% say they currently have a hybrid working arrangement, while 29% are fully remote and 22% are still working in-person only.

These “reality” numbers have an interesting relationship to what workers say they would prefer. 60% of surveyed workers say they would like a hybrid work arrangement permanently, while 34% would like to permanently work from home. At the same time, however, the share of fully-remote positions is expected to decrease from a level of around 30% in June 2022 to around 20% going forward. Another 20% of workers expect their jobs to be on-site full time in the near future (down enormously from 60% of jobs in 2019) — while only 6% actually want their jobs to be full-time in-person.

Even in major employer hubs, like New York City, in-person work is returning, albeit more complicated than before. The Partnership for New York City reported that 49% of NYC workers are back in the office, up from 38% in April 2022, but only 9% are in-office full time. 77% of employers expect that hybrid work will be the new norm, with the most common arrangement (37% of surveyed workers) has employees working three days in person and two remotely.

At Velocity, we’re already hearing similar things from candidates. In one recent conversation, a top-tier candidate explained that she was only open to positions with remote options.

“I’m not ever going to do the normal 1.5-2-hour commute anymore on any given day depending on the train schedule, I don’t feel safe commuting into the city, I’d rather spend the extra time with my family instead of commuting,” this candidate said.

During the pandemic, many IT professionals took advantage of work-anywhere flexibility to move to new locations. Even when a company decided to embrace hybrid approach, many in the IT community feel subtle pressure to “return home.”

Candidates who are unwilling to move are open to new positions, but we are finding it takes many more conversations to match skills, pay requirements, and lifestyle concerns.

Companies should take note of potential gaps between what employees want and what organizations are requiring, as it can have a significant impact on job performance, satisfaction, and results. Gallup found that workers whose job location requirements do not match their preferences are much more likely to experience burnout and to search for a new job, while also reporting lower engagement and a lower sense of a “thriving life” overall. Perhaps most notably for employers concerned about turnover: 60% of employees who currently have full-time remote roles say they are “extremely likely” to seek a new job if their current one does not continue offering remote options and flexibility, and 29% of current hybrid employees have the same attitude.

This research from Gallup highlights once again just how important flexibility, balance, and a sense of trust are to today’s employees. To retain employees and attract new top talent, it’s critical for companies to assess the current state of remote and hybrid work, understand what workers are truly prioritizing, and build a strategy to address these concerns while working towards overall business goals in a new business landscape.

By Daniel Midoneck