The “hybrid” future of work means something different to everyone
An overwhelming majority of workers who’ve been doing their jobs remotely for the past year (72%) say their workplace is likely to have a more flexible work-from-home policy after the COVID-19 pandemic than before it began. Whereas workers were once expected to show up in-person to get face time with their boss, to meet new customers, or to be present for all-hands meetings, the past year has demonstrated that many of those everyday activities can be done remotely.
Rather than continuing to work fully from home or returning to work fully from the office, most employees who’ve been doing their jobs remotely would actually prefer a hybrid model. Two-thirds of workers who have been working from home this year (65%) say their ideal choice for a future work setup is one in which they could work both from home and from the office, evenly split between 33% preferring to work mostly from the office and 32% preferring to work mostly from home.
For comparison, just 20% of workers say their ideal work setup is one in which they work fully from their office, and even fewer (15%) say they’d prefer to work fully from home.
Young workers are the least likely to say they’d prefer to work exclusively from home (just 10%, vs. 15%) overall), and more likely than average to prefer a hybrid balance that tips towards working mostly from the office (41% vs. 33% overall).
Technology workers are a bit of an outlier here: 24% would work fully from home.
In the hybrid workplace of the (near) future, workers might choose whether to come in to the office based on what their schedule looks like each day. Among those who have been able to work from home, more than half (56%) say they would prefer to attend large meetings virtually from home, 44% would prefer to work in small groups on projects from home, and 43% would prefer to meet one-on-one with their supervisor from home. Though still a minority, a substantial 26% say they would even prefer to meet new clients or customers virtually from home (26%).
On the other end, workers are split between the 42% who say they’d prefer to attend large group meetings in person and the 41% who say they’d prefer to attend those meetings virtually from home.
Workplace collaboration technology has been essential in the pandemic
Nearly a full year into the COVID-19 pandemic, 58% of those who’ve been working from home recently say they are now using workplace collaboration tools more than they were a year ago.
More than half of workers who’ve been working from home (53%) say those workplace collaboration tools have made it easier for them to do their jobs over the past year.
Workers of all racial backgrounds who have been working from home are equally likely to say using workplace collaboration tools has made it easier for them to do their jobs. Older workers age 65 and above are less likely than younger workers to say using collaboration tools has made it easier for them to work over the past year.
Many are eager to return to work in-person
Two-thirds of workers (66%) who have been able to work from home say they’re eager to return to work in person, twice as many who say they’re dreading the return to work in-person (31%).
Workers in the education industry are especially likely to be eager to return to work in person (73%), while workers in government are especially likely to say they’re dreading the return to in-person work (47%). Among tech workers, 58% are eager for and 40% are dreading the return to in-person work.
Read more about our polling methodology here.
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: