While more and more U.S. companies are calling their employees back to the office, workers are quitting in droves, according to a new report.
“More U.S. workers are quitting their jobs than at any time in at least two decades, signaling optimism among many professionals while also adding to the struggle companies face trying to keep up with the economic recovery,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The wave of resignations marks a sharp turn from the darkest days of the pandemic, when workers craved job security while weathering a national health and economic crisis. In April, the share of U.S. workers leaving jobs was 2.7%, according to the Labor Department, a jump from 1.6% a year earlier to the highest level since at least 2000,” said the Journal.
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the U.S. last year, many companies virtually shut down and relied on workers to perform their jobs from home. Now, with the pandemic finally easing, some companies want their workers back in the office. Apple employees, for instance, have been told to return to the office starting in early September.
“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” CEO Tim Cook said in an email to workers. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”
But Cook said the company will employ a hybrid schedule. “Most employees will be asked to come in to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams that need to work in-person will return four to five days a week,” The Verge reported, adding:
Employees also have the chance to work remotely for up to two weeks a year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own,” according to the letter. Managers need to approve remote work requests.
Other companies, including Google, Ford Motor Co., and Citigroup Inc., are also promising greater flexibility, but others, like JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, aren’t so sure. At a recent conference, Dimon said that remote work doesn’t cut it “for those who want to hustle.”
“But as office returns accelerate, some employees may want different options,” Bloomberg News reported. “A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News.”
According to another survey by tech job market platform Hackajob, 86% of workers want to keep doing their jobs from home, City A.M. reports. “Only 14 percent of the 1,700 tech professionals surveyed want to go back to a company office full-time, while around one in four would like to work remote permanently.”
But the workers are OK with a compromise: 60% are happy to drop into the office once in a while and spend the rest of time working from home.
“Hybrid working is the new deal breaker for tech professionals,” said Mark Chaffey, co-founder and CEO of Hackajob. “Although working from home may not have been the easiest for individuals this past year, tech professionals clearly find the value in not being in the office every day. Employees are feeling more comfortable and happier working from home, having cultivated a work-life balance,” Chaffey told City A.M.
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