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Few workers asked for input on their remote work preferences, new Eagle Hill Consulting research finds

Workers increasingly prefer working for employers offering remote and hybrid work flexibility

Arlington, Va., November 1, 2023 – Only 31 percent of U.S. workers say someone in their organization has asked for their input when it comes to their remote and hybrid work preferences, according to a new nationwide poll conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting. The research also finds nearly half of workers (49 percent) prefer an employer that offers remote and hybrid work flexibility, up from 43 percent just six months ago.

Read our infographic, Employees weigh in on workplace flexibility amid rollback of remote work policies.

In recent month, more employers have been cracking down on return-to-workplace mandates. But despite the push, office attendance in big cities still is barely half of what it was in 2019.

And even though the job market has cooled, nearly half of workers (47 percent) say they would consider looking for a new job should their employer reduce remote and hybrid work flexibility, holding steady from Eagle Hill’s April 2023 polling results. Remote work flexibility remains substantially more important to younger workers. Sixty percent of Gen Z and 61 percent of Millennial employees indicate they would look for other employment if remote flexibility were scaled back, with Baby Boomers at 30 percent.   

“It’s so important for employers to proactively solicit employee input on how they want to work. Teleworking is a hot button issue right now, but workers indicate that employers aren’t asking their preferences,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “When employees don’t feel heard, it often breaks down trust and damages productivity.”

“Many workers learned during the pandemic that two things can be true at the same time: they can get their job done and have improved work-life balance via hybrid or remote work. It’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle, so work flexibility often is a way to meet in the middle. Our research finds employees deeply value in-person work, but they don’t want strict mandates, nor do they want long and expensive commutes every day,” Jezior said.  

The research also finds:

  • A large share of workers (61 percent) say those who work more in the office rather than remotely are more likely to be successful in their jobs.
  • Employee concerns about increasing in-person work requirements include work-life balance (43 percent), higher costs (34 percent), stress (34 percent), and commute times (33 percent).
  • When asked about the upsides of in-person work, employees say it’s more socialization (41 percent), improved collaboration (30 percent), the ability to leave work at work (29 percent), and increased productivity (29 percent).
  • According to workers, work that is best accomplished in person includes integrating a new team member (84 percent), team building (83 percent), training (76 percent), new project kickoffs (74 percent), onboarding (72 percent), getting a project on track (71 percent), performance discussions (70 percent), giving and receiving feedback (64 percent), meetings (64 percent), brainstorming (62 percent), and IT support (57 percent).
  • When given the choice between either coming to the workplace or remote work, most workers (56 percent) would choose the workplace over remote (44 percent).
  • Work that is best achieved remotely includes research (56 percent) and deep thinking (56 percent).
  • Employees are almost evenly split as to whether they are more productive spending a full day in the workplace (53 percent) versus spending only part of the day (47 percent). 
  • Most workers (77 percent) say they trust the person who determines where they work understands how employees can be most productive.

These findings are based upon the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Telework Survey conducted by Ipsos from October 11-16, 2023. The survey included 1,350 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. Respondents were polled about their views about working remotely.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy, Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. A leading authority on employee sentiment, Eagle Hill is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with employees across the U.S. and offices in Boston and Seattle. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact:  Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill