- Despite 'Zoom fatigue' being often discussed, most people are fine with their teleworking habits.
- In fact, most people would look for a new job, or already have, if their employer made them work in person.
- Younger workers especially prioritize remote work in their job hunts.
When 'Zoom fatigue' entered the popular lexicon two years ago, it suggested that our collective tolerance for remote work had an expiration date — but these days it looks like most people are still loving the work-from-home life.
That's according to a Pew Research Center study published this week, which found that nearly three-quarters of workers who use video conferencing said they were fine with the amount of time they spend on video calls. And about 6 in 10 of Americans who can work from home actually do all or most of the time, with prior Pew data from this year showing that the number of people working from home is shrinking.
Worker preferences have been clashing with employer demands as the pandemic stretches into its third year and COVID cases rise across a majority of the United States. Desire for remote work options has been an important factor in the country's "Great Resignation" over the past year, due to accompanying flexibility, fear of COVID-19 exposure, and a lack of childcare options.
Remote work is even becoming a make-or-break factor for many job hunters. Two-thirds of the global workforce (64%) said that they have or would consider looking for a new job if their employer wanted them to return to the office full-time, according to a recent ADP survey of 32,000 people.
And remote flexibility is becoming increasingly vital to keep Gen Z and millennial workers. 71% of 18 to 24 year old respondents in the Pew survey who are currently working from home reported leaving or considering leaving if they had to return to the office. Younger workers have also exhibited more experience with software like Zoom: 59% of workers ages 18 to 49 who have jobs that can be done from home say they use these tools often, compared with 48% of similar workers 50 and older, according to the study.
"When I was working at the job where I was going to the office every day, I thought it was perfect," Lesley Labarba, a 28-year-old human resources manager who job-hopped twice in the past two years, told Insider. "As soon as I started working remotely and I got the two hours commute time back in my life, I suddenly had more time than I knew what to do with."
A tug of war between employers and their workers
Tech giants like Apple and Google began requiring most employees to return to offices on a hybrid schedule last month. Some companies are playing good cop, renting out food trucks and offering concerts.
Despite those in-person perks, for many, staying at home is becoming a factor that can't be compromised.
"What we're seeing is that working from home has worked for people," Juliana Horowitz, associate director of research at Pew Research Center, told Insider's Madison Hoff in February. "We saw this even in 2020 when it'd been a quick shift to remote work, and we saw that for the most part people thought it was easy for them to have what they needed to work from home and to continue to meet deadlines and to be productive."
And that might be changing the workplace as a whole as young people shape worker demands, Lebarba said.
"As all these boomers exit the market and it's filled with Gen Z people, you begin to see time as a commodity," Labarba said, explaining that she thinks young people rising in the workplace value their time more than generations past.