Working from Home: Maybe Not So Great After All

Polls show white-collar workers want to go back to the office, at least for some of the time.

Ahhhh, the joys of working from home: no commute, no getting dressed up, no distractions from coworkers (except on those Zoom meetings, but you can work on your computer if you’re sneaky enough). But then … There are the burdens of childcare and home schooling, household chores, and the lack of workplace camaraderie.

Meantime, the evidence is growing that a lot of white-collar employees want to get back to the office, maybe not full-time, but for part of their work week.

Turns out that a large majority of people say they wouldn’t want to work from home a lot more, an international survey by research group YouGov. In the US, 42% don’t wish to devote more time to working remotely, versus 28% who would.

This is yet another sign that the allure of working full-time at home may be nearing an end. Another poll, by Global Workplace Analytics, found that most white-collar folks in North America would like to split their time between home and work.

The question is if the massive move of white-collar work to home will continue, once the virus is gone, or at least the pandemic becomes not as much of a threat. Right now, employers like Facebook, Twitter, Zillow, and Spotify say they will let staffers work remotely as long as they want to. Global Workplace Analytics discovered that most remote workers were productive staying at home.

No doubt, more remote working will save employers money in real estate outlays. Global estimated that companies can lop $11,000 yearly per worker by letting them stay home. US office renting shrank by 34% in the first quarter, to 45 million square feet, versus 2019’s comparable period, said JLL, the global commercial property broker and manager.

Other major companies, such as the investment bank Barclays and food giant Mondelez International, expect to use less office space as more employees work from home. Insurer Nationwide says costs will be significantly lower with so many employees toiling remotely that it intends to return the savings to customers in lower premiums.

Related Stories:

How Asset Allocators Are Planning Life Back in the Office

Institutional Investors to Reduce Real Estate Investments in 2020

Why Offices, Abandoned as a Virus Risk, Will Be Back

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