One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the widespread adoption of remote work. For decades, even as telecommunications technologies made widespread remote work more technically feasible, employers had been reluctant to grant such freedom for fear of diminished productivity, team cohesion, and oversight. As the pandemic forced them to reconsider that position, many employers have found they get by just fine with their employees working from home.
Employees Increasingly Crave Remote Work
Companies have recognized the value employees are placing on the flexibility of remote work opportunities. Consequently, many employers have touted their remote work opportunities as a key selling point in their recruitment and retention efforts.
But everyone isn’t equally amenable to remote work options.
In an article for Fortune, Jane Thier suggests that remote work may be less attractive than many assume, especially for younger workers.
Gen Z Less Enamored with Remote Work
“Less than a quarter (23%) of Gen Zers feel remote work is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important to them, per the National Society of High School Scholars’ 2022 Career Interest Survey,” writes Thier. The research was based on input from 11,500 high school and college-aged respondents. The implications: Remote schooling may have caused many to feel cool about the prospect of remote work.
In fact, a surprising 13% say remote training and onboarding would be favorable; 63% say they prefer to be trained and onboarded the old-fashioned way—in person.
Thier adds, “Remote work doesn’t even crack the top three things Gen Z is looking for in a job, the NSHSS survey finds; they prioritize fair treatment of all employees, quality of life and flexibility, and corporate social responsibility.”
A Hybrid Mandate for Retention-Motivated Employers
The Career Interest Survey data offers an interesting counterpoint to the widespread belief that employees generally are strongly in favor of remote work opportunities. One cautionary note with respect to self-reported data from high school and college-aged individuals is their limited experience in the workforce. Those who dismiss the attractiveness of remote work may change their tune several years into a career spent in the office.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.