Working remotely: ‘You can’t put the genie back in the bottle’

It appears that many people still don’t want to head back to the office, and some employers are losing their workers as a result.

A recent survey from Unispace, a company that designs and builds workspaces, found that 42% of companies that implemented return-to-office policies have seen higher levels of employee attrition than they had planned for.

“I don’t think we’re ever going back to the way we were,” said Kathleen Quinn Votaw, a recruitment and retention specialist. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”

Quinn Votaw literally wrote the book on the issue, called “Dare to Care in the Workplace: A Guide to the New Way We Work.”

“This was a problem before the pandemic, but it just got blown way out of the stratosphere when we hit the pandemic because people realized they could have a different kind of life,” Quinn Votaw said.

The Unispace survey found that employees put a premium on productivity and personal space.

According to the survey, 31% of employees said they prefer having privacy when working, 27% said they are more effective in a quiet environment and 23% said they feel more productive at home.

“As an employer, if you have a role that can be performed remotely, I encourage you to be as flexible as possible,” said Quinn Votaw. “If they really want to work remotely, employees will seek out the opportunity to work either completely remote or in a hybrid situation if you don’t provide it for them.”

In another recent survey, the recruiting software company Greenhouse found that 76% of employees said they would “actively search for or be open to a new job if their company rolled back flexible work policies.”

Companies that are not flexible could have a difficult time hiring top talent.

According to the survey, 42% of job candidates said they would not apply for a role “if it doesn’t offer their preferred working model.”

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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