Employees Speak Out: Let Me Work from Anywhere, Please!

A new report finds that nearly 9 out of 10 people don’t want to work from the office full-time.

Everywhere workplace is a term IT software company Ivanti uses to describe the way work is moving away from the office and becoming more distributed. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend, as 87% of people surveyed said they don’t want to return to the office full-time even after the pandemic ends, according to Ivanti’s most recent report.

“Some of the stats that came back were very surprising,” said David Shepherd, Ivanti’s global vice president on Geeks Geezers and Googlization podcast last week. “For example, 71%

The Ivanti report, titled “The 2022 Everywhere Workplace Report,” surveyed more than 6,000 office workers and IT professionals across the United States and several European countries. The findings, released earlier this month, provide a snapshot of how work is changing and the challenges that come with it.

Are Employers Ready?

The Everywhere Workplace findings appear to show an increase in the number of people wanting to work remotely since last year when Microsoft published a major study finding that 73% of global workers wanted to keep flexible remote work options even after the pandemic. “The next great disruption is hybrid work—are we ready?” read the headline of the Microsoft report.

This is not your father’s workforce…

The growing desire to work from anywhere reinforces the notion that we live in a “never-normal” world, a term recently coined by the podcast’s co-host Ira Wolfe, the author of “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization,” to describe the way the pandemic has upended our lives and work. Wolfe has defined “never normal” as a world where change happens at a much faster pace than we’re used to and where there is no “new normal” because the changes are constant.

“This is not our father’s and mother’s and grandparent’s workforce anymore,” said Jeff Abbott, CEO of Ivanti, a Utah-based global IT management software company.

“9 to 5 in the office is over…The workforce, in general, is saying I get more value by being remote, and therefore I can afford to take the pay hit or pass up the promotion,” he told the podcast.

The Great Resignation Creates A Never Normal

The report’s findings also coincide with the so-called “Great Resignation” that has been underway in the United States for over a year as workers leave their jobs in droves to take advantage of the growing gig economy or simply because they feel they can get a better work-life balance elsewhere. Another 4.4 million people quit their jobs in the US in February alone, surpassing 50 million who quit over the past 12 months,  according to the US Department of Labor statistics released on March 29.

Workers want freedom

The podcast’s other co-host Jason Cochran said the report indicated employees increasingly value the “freedom” that comes with working from anywhere.

“When I was going through the report, the one word that just kept ringing in my head was freedom. That is what I shared with Ira: this is about people wanting to take control over their lives,” he said.

Abbott nodded in agreement, saying: “if you talk to some of the surveyees, they’d say, ‘listen, I can take a 20-minute break and run to the market or get the dry cleaning or take care of a pet. That is so much more valuable to me than being pulled back into the office.”

“The most important conclusion here is we’re in a new era of the workforce, and it’s not going back to what it’s been for the past 100 years,” he added.

Quitting is not an empty threat

While employees appear to be largely in favor of the shift to remote work, other reports suggest that executives are not as enthusiastic. A recent report by Slack found that executives were three times more likely than employees to say that they wanted to return to the office full time.

This disconnect between workers and executives is likely to create tension in the coming years as companies grapple with how to adapt their workplace policies to the “never-normal” era.

“Executives who are concerned about the Great Resignation should take note that among their employees, requests for more flexibility are not “empty threats,” said the Slack report published in January.

“72% of workers who are dissatisfied with their current level of flexibility at work say they are likely to look for a new job in the next year, compared with 58% of total respondents (up from 57% last quarter),” it added.