68% of U.S. Employees Prefer Remote Work Over In-Person Work

Companies that don't offer remote work options will fall behind, survey respondents say
remote worker on video call

If 2020 saw the rapid rise and adoption of remote work in the U.S., this year sees companies and workers alike grappling with the resulting changes. However, findings indicate remote work is the way of the future — at least from an employee's perspective.

GoodHire, a background check provider in Redwood City, Calif., reveals in its first State of Remote Work survey that only 32% of U.S. employees prefer in-office work, while 68% would rather work from home.

In fact, 45% of respondents say they'd either quit their job or search for a new one that offered remote work benefits if their employer ordered them to return to the office.

Most employees want to work from home 3 to 5 days a week

GoodHire's survey finds that 74% of employees would need some sort of remote work setup to stay in their current job, with most respondents preferring a work-from-home (WFH) arrangement for three to five days each work week.

Many are willing to compromise with their employer to make this work, including:

  • 61% who would take a pay cut up to 50% (a 10% drop being the most common answer for respondents)
  • 70% who would forfeit benefits (retirement benefits and accounts, health insurance, paid time off and gym memberships)

These findings are similar to those in recent surveys from Ivanti and Personal Capital, as these reports indicated that workers would be willing to forfeit pay raises, promotions and benefits to continue working from home.

With these numbers in mind, it's little surprise that 85% of GoodHire respondents believe that their colleagues — and the American workforce in general — also prefer remote work to the conventional on-site alternative.

Remote work-averse companies may suffer for their decision

With the Great Resignation well underway, U.S. workers unhappy with the current state of things are also searching for better career opportunities elsewhere.

What most of these job seekers have in common, though, is the desire to continue working from home. The GoodHire survey shows that 85% of respondents only want to apply for roles that offer remote flexibility. Additionally:

  • Nearly 30% of respondents would "absolutely not" apply for a full-time, on-site job
  • Nearly 60% of respondents would move to a new city just to avoid full-time, in-person work

Still, many employers prefer their workforce remain on site. A recent Digital survey of small business owners found that nearly half of them believe most roles require in-person attendance — perhaps in part due to their own struggles with WFH productivity during the pandemic.

These companies may need to reassess their stance on remote work in the near future, however, as many workers believe they’ll fall behind otherwise. In particular, respondents say companies that fail to include remote work options for their employees will:

  • Lose major talent (74%)
  • Struggle to get applicants (67%)
  • Have to compensate by increasing starting salary offers (64%)

"Permanent remote working is the 'new normal' for many professionals and a large proportion of companies have come to accept this fact as their new status quo," says Max Wesman, GoodHire chief operating officer. "Our survey clearly shows that those employers resistant to this change will risk losing employees and applicants to more adaptable companies."

Methodology: GoodHire, using Pollfish, conducted an online survey of 3,500 American adults ages 21 to 59, fielded July 27-29, 2021.

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