TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — When COVID-19 shut the doors to most businesses, it opened the doors to a new way to work.
Workers like Coral Smith were among the many to be bitten by the work-from-home bug.
“I got a new job that was work from home because of Covid. I didn’t transition to a job that I was in office during Covid. I just got a work from home job, and I’m not going back,” she said.
Kforce conducted multiple surveys related to work from home over the last year. Each survey includes responses from at least 2,500 job seekers. The company provided ABC Action News with these findings:
- In October, 92% of job seekers favored hybrid or remote work. A majority of respondents do not want set in-office schedules. Instead, they want the ability to work 100% remotely, only using the office if necessary.
- In July, a majority of job seekers (56%) said they would likely look for a new job if their current position no longer supported remote work.
- In August, the number one deal breaker job seekers selected was not having the option to work remotely or hybrid. A quarter of job seekers surveyed said the lack of flexibility would lead them to reject a job offer.
Kforce itself moved into more work-from-home and hybrid models. No employee is required to come into an office, but there is space available if ever needed. Kforce was named to FlexInternships’ 2023 list of the Top 100 Companies to Watch for Remote Internships.
Smith said she’s more productive at home and prefers the flexibility and comfort.
Max Powers jumped into work from home before Covid, six years ago, to be exact.
“I prayed years ago for this, and, like God, really answered a prayer, and being able to make this happen,” he said.
For Powers, the best part is the work-life balance.
“I was in the Army, and when I got out, I wanted absolute total freedom to be able to be with my friends and family any moment to be there if they needed me. And so I wanted to create a lifestyle where I could work as hard as I need to for a period of time. But I can also take time off if and when I need to,” he said.
USF Assistant Professor Russell Clayton said working from home was only the beginning of the shift from job seekers.
“A segment of workers sort of got what they wanted, maybe got what they had always wished for. That may have given them maybe a little more to say, ‘Okay, I’ve got that now. But now I want this.’,” he explained.
Cornell University found labor strikes increased from 2021 to 2022, and wages also increased. But as a recession looms, there’s the potential of going back to the old ways. Disney recently decided to bring some employees back in at least four days out of the week.
“I’m certainly not an insider, but (Bob Iger) saw what was going on. He said, ‘We need that togetherness. We need to be in the same room to have those creative thoughts be fostered’,” he said.
Clayton says that doesn’t mean every company is on board to do the same.
“There is a lot of nuance there, and there’s a lot of scenarios where there’d be one answer at workplace X, and then a different answer at workplace y. but I think, by and large, I don’t know that much is going to change with the recession in terms of bringing workers back to the office or moving them into work-from-home situations,” he explained.