5 Reasons Why Workers are Refusing to Return to the Office

Author: Gina Cunsolo

Nearly anyone who could do their job from home has been doing so over the past year, but as the threat of COVID-19 retreats, businesses have begun promoting a full-time return to the office. What many are finding, though, is that workers aren't so eager to comply. More and more, "I don't want to go back to the office!" is the response to those initiatives.

A recent survey conducted by background check provider GoodHire found that 61% of Americans would take a pay cut if it meant they could continue working remotely. And 45% said they would either quit their job or immediately start a job search if they were forced to return to their office full-time.

But while businesses may have been surprised by the resistance to a "back to the office" mandate, remote work has provided real benefits to workers, and they're not willing to give those up so easily. Here are four reasons why workers are refusing to return to the office:

5. Financial benefits of not returning to the office

The money they save by doing their jobs from home is the most significant benefit remote workers enjoy. Not having to leave the house means there's no driving back and forth to work along with no parking fees, no buying lunch every day, and in some cases, no child care expenses. Combined, those add up to significant savings. A study by Global Workplace Analytics estimated workers could save as much as $7,000 in transportation and work-related costs by working remotely.

4. More time with the family

Not only does the lack of a commute mean saving money, it means saving time as well. Not having to leave the house an hour early to fight the morning traffic means more time to have breakfast with the kids, go for a jog, or even spend some time relaxing as you prepare for the day. In the evening, you'll emerge from your office at 5:30 for dinner with the family instead of pulling into the driveway at 7 p.m. after everyone else has already eaten.


3. Increased productivity

Remote workers claim to get more done while working from home, and the statistics back that up. A survey conducted by HR and workplace benefits consulting firm Mercer polled nearly 800 employers, and 94% said their company productivity was the same (67%) or higher (27%) than before the pandemic even though many employees were working remotely. Other studies indicate employers with a remote workforce see lower rates of absenteeism.

2. Easier to handle personal matters

Workers often struggle with balancing their work with responsibilities at home, such as keeping an eye on a sick child or serving as a caregiver for an elderly parent or relative. Finding child care in the event they need to stay home from school can be next to impossible. And nearly a fourth (23%) of adults ages 45 to 64 care for an ageing adult and many of them do so while holding down a full-time job. Those keeping an eye on children or elderly relatives find it's much easier to do when they're in the next room instead of across town.

1. Out-of-date office technology

After most offices were forced to work remotely in 2020, teams invested in appropriate equipment and software necessary to enable an effective work-from-anywhere lifestyle. However, now that employees are returning to the office, it is the office space that lacks up-to-date technology for meetings and conferences. Employees do not want to go into the office, only to join a virtual meeting on their own laptop. Offices must be outfitted with updated technology that can support a hybrid workplace.

Yamaha UC offers a perfect solution for corporate workspaces - ADECIA. The ADECIA family of products are designed to be easily installed, auto-configurable, and auto-tuned to any room. The ceiling microphones, line array speakers, and tabletop microphones ensure that all parties in the office and joining remotely can be heard clearly and can contribute to the conversation successfully.

Keeping remote workers productive

Although it may seem that workers benefit from the remote work trend, employers are also reaping the rewards. A happier, more productive staff can certainly help boost the bottom line. Many companies were able to reduce the amount of office space they needed to lease with fewer people coming in. And if the boss isn't completely sold on the remote work concept, a hybrid model, where employees spend part of their week in the office and part working from home, might be the answer.

Still, there are steps employers can take to keep their remote workforce humming. Start by offering advice to workers on how to organize their home office to maintain peak productivity. Also, make sure employees have the communication tools they need to be productive from their home office. Some companies have even begun offering stipends for those working from home to cover costs such as Internet service, database subscriptions, and equipment purchases. Others reimburse workers for specific equipment purchases or purchase equipment directly for employees to use. 

Need advice on the right work from home equipment to help support your remote workforce? Yamaha Unified Communications is ready to assist with equipment to outfit any home office.