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Is Remote Work Still Important to Employees?

Employees still consider flexible/remote working options valuable, but is it as important as it once was?
NOV 08, 2023

Obviously, the work-from-home trend hit its peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even as things returned to normal, many employers and employees, recognizing the benefits of saving on overhead and commuting, as well the ability to recruit talent and find jobs with fewer geographic limitations, came to an agreement of sorts that remote work—in some form or another—was here to stay.


So, have workers come to view the option to work remotely as a given in employment agreements these days? In our Workforce Trends Report, we noticed a nearly 10% gap in how employers and employees felt about the value of flexible/remote work options to attracting talent.


Outside of compensation, what makes people want to work at an organization?


Flexible/remote working options


  • Employers 41%
  • Employees 32%


Sure, employees still consider flexible/remote working options valuable, but is it as important as it once was? Do many employees see flexible/remote working as just part of modern working and not as much of a difference-maker when choosing a new job? Let’s take a brief look at the flexible/remote working trend and where it appears to be headed.


The Rise and Plateau of Remote Working


According to Pew Research Center, only about 7% of workers whose jobs can be done remotely were working from home all the time before the pandemic. That number rose sharply to 55% in October 2020, fell slightly to 43% in January 2022, and seems to have leveled off at around 35%.


Most of this is likely due to the fact that 61% of U.S. workers say they simply don’t have jobs that can be done from home. However, our research shows that another reason for the numbers slowly decreasing is that both employers and employees are simply making it a priority to return to work, at least partially.


Is it a priority for employees to return to the office for work at least partially?


  • 79% Employers
  • 74% Employees


The Next Evolution of Remote Work: Hybrid Work


The same Pew Research shows that 41% of those with jobs that can be done remotely are doing more “hybrid work,” or working some days from home and some in the office—this number has increased from 35% in January 2022. Our research suggests that hybrid arrangements are attractive to today’s employees, however, employers have yet to catch on:


  • 25% of employers offer hybrid work options.
  • 35% of employees are interested in hybrid work options.


While more employers should consider offering a hybrid work option, we found that, just a few years removed from the fully remote days of the pandemic, U.S. workers are prioritizing other perks over the ability to work remotely:


What alternative rewards or benefits do employees consider valuable as part of a job offer?


Paid Family leave 33%
Sign-on bonuses 32%
Flexible/remote working options 32%


Outside of compensation, what makes people want to work at an organization?


Good workplace culture 39%
Strong leadership team 34%
Flexible/remote working options 32%


What should companies increase investment in to better attract and/or retain talent?


Generous paid time off 33%
Strong leadership team 32%
Good workplace culture 29%
Flexible/remote working options 28%


Employers should take into account that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to remote/flexible working. Yes, offering employees the ability to at least work in a hybrid arrangement is important, but there are other areas to invest in when trying to attract and retain talent. That said, employers should also consider their audience and understand that different employers have different needs. For example, we found that flexibility and time savings are more important to older workers—perhaps because they need to juggle work and family commitments.


The opportunity for more flexible/remote work is most driving my decision to take a new job.
45% aged 35-44
29% aged 18-24


Saving time on commuting is a benefit of remote working.
58% aged 45-54
30% aged 18-24


So, Yes, Remote Work is Still Important to Employees.


It’s not necessarily the most important thing, but it might be to your older workers. The bottom line is:


  1. Remote/flexible/hybrid work is here to stay.
  2. Workers whose jobs can be done remotely, expect to have the option.
  3. Therefore, if you can offer it as an option, you should.


Are you in sync with your workforce?


For our 2024 Workforce Trends Report, we surveyed 1,500+ employers and 500+ employees/job seekers in the U.S. on topics ranging from compensation and culture to AI and DEI. Then we analyzed their responses to see where employers and employees agree, where there are gaps in alignment, and how wide those gaps really are.


Download your free copy of our 2024 Workforce Trends Report today.