18 Percent of Employees Would Quit Instead of Heading to the Office Full Time: Survey

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Nearly 1 in 5 employees said they would quit their jobs if they were forced to go back into the office full time, according to a new survey from human resources provider Traliant

Roughly 18 percent of the 2,000 workers surveyed said they would “look for a new job if their employer required them to return to on-site work,” and another 36 percent said they would try to negotiate flexible work arrangements, according to Traliant. The vast majority, 82 percent, said that hybrid and remote work options had improved their work-life balance. 

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The data, which was collected by analytics firm Propeller, includes responses from employees across the U.S. working on-site or away from the office. It comes after plenty of firms have cut down on their office space. Facebook and Instagram owner Meta said it planned to spend $3 billion to shrink its office footprint worldwide, and Manhattan office leasing dropped 40 percent month-over-month from September to October. Despite workers’ preference for home offices, the amount of fully remote jobs has shrunk in recent months.

But returning to the office isn’t the only corporate policy that employees have strong feelings about. More than half — 54 percent — of those surveyed said they wanted to leave their current company for one more aligned with their views on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, Traliant found. And 48 percent said they’d like to be more involved in opportunities to make real change, particularly when it came to their employer’s ESG commitments. 

One-third of employees said they wanted their companies to be more vocal about social, political or environmental issues.

Forty-six percent of workers ages 25 to 34 said a company’s commitment to ESG issues was very important to them, and 57 percent of employees ages 35 to 44 agreed. 

In terms of social issues, 40 percent of employees said their companies had “actively addressed” diversity, equity and inclusion issues in the past year, while about a third of respondents said their companies had made ESG commitments to address human rights issues. Roughly a quarter of people surveyed said their bosses had made commitments related to sustainability, labor standards and energy efficiency. 

“One of the takeaways of the survey is now that HR leaders have a seat at the senior leadership table, they should lead the charge by asking employees what they need to be successful, and then craft an action plan that works for employees and the business,” said Maggie Smith, vice president of human resources at Traliant, in a statement. “If you’re not listening to employees and willing to adapt, good talent will go somewhere else. Employees want to be involved and it’s critical to keep them informed.”

Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at rbairdremba@commercialobserver.com.