DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Remote work has plummeted since it hit a high during the pandemic, showing signs that the push to get workers back in the office may be working.
However, some experts say that remove work may be better for productivity.
“Pre-COVID, pre-pandemic, people often felt pretty constrained by having to be in the office from 9 to 5,” says Allison Gabriel, who works at the Purdue University Center for Working Well.
Remote work can give employees flexibility to make their work schedule align with their other responsibilities and priorities.
On the other hand, it can be isolating for workers.
“We can feel less connected to people that we’re working with, and it can also create a lot of pressure to work really extreme hours,” says Gabriel.
A recent survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows fewer than 26% of households still have someone working from home at least one day a week. That’s down from the peak of 37% in early 2021.
“Remote and hybrid work created a lot of autonomy,” Gabriel explains. “So, to take that away is going to feel like a violation. I think that’s why we saw a lot of people reconsidering the organizations and the jobs that they were having.”
Experts say when employers are weighing the options of returning to the office, staying remote or going hybrid, they should consider their employees’ whole lives.
“What is their life like at work, and with their family, or during their leisure, and how do we help people achieve goals across all of those domains?” Gabriel says.
Gabriel elaborates that if workers do stay remote at least some of the time, employers should create a culture that displays trust that they will get work done from home.
“Encouraging that trust and that psychological safety and that autonomy is naturally going to create these positive spirals to people feeling good about the work they’re doing, being more motivated to go ahead and do that work,” Gabriel says.