Most knowledge workers don’t want to return to the office full-time

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Good morning.

Before the pandemic, the “future of work” was a topic for academics and dreamers. But now it has moved into the C suite. Every company is being forced to make to decisions about how their employees will work in the future. How often will they come to the office? Do they have to live near the office? Will their remote work undermine innovation? With remote work, how do you maintain culture?

The folks at Slack, the communications software company, announced yesterday they are forming a new research consortium—Future Forum—to help companies answer those questions. In a blog post by Brian Elliott, the Slack VP heading the effort, they revealed some intriguing early results from their research. Some findings:

  • Only 12% of knowledge workers say they intend to return to work full-time. 72% are looking for a combination of office and remote work.
  • “Work-life balance” is the thing they like most about remote work—with 52% saying it is better, and only 18% saying it is worse.
  • Stress and anxiety about work also improves—with 42% saying it is better with remote work, and only 20% saying it is worse.
  • And many see an improvement in productivity, although the results on this one are surprisingly close: 37% say it is better and 26% worse.
  • “My sense of belonging at work” is where remote workers took the biggest hit, with 35% saying it has gotten worse, and only 22% saying it has gotten better.

And here’s an interesting side result:  65% of white knowledge workers agree with the statement “my manager is supportive when I need help,” while only 46% of Black knowledge workers say the same. That’s a disturbing imbalance.

News below.

Alan Murray

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