would you quit over your employer’s work-from-home policy?

Would you leave your job over its work-from-home policies?

If you’ve been remote, would you consider leaving if your office required you to return?

Or the opposite — if you’ve disliked working from home, would you consider leaving if that became permanent?

There’s a narrative building in the media that we’re in a moment of reckoning and the power balance has shifted toward employees in a way we haven’t seen before, that people are reconsidering what they want from their jobs, and that work-from-home is poised to become a make-or-break issue for people.

Let’s talk about how that’s playing out from you (if at all). Are you reconsidering what you want from a job? Would you quit over the way your employer handles work-from-home? Would you make it a key factor in future job searches?

{ 1,113 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I will probably write about this topic at some point and may quote from the discussion here, so if you don’t want to be quoted (anonymously, as always), please indicate that when you post. Thank you!

  2. Allison*

    I am very tempted. Just interviewed for the job in March and we talked about work life balance and how much I enjoyed working out on my lunch break. Boss said that they had a flexible work schedule and I assumed that meant I could work from home sometimes after lockdown ended. As we have gotten a definite return date now, the message is there is no official work from home policy but they with work with your individual circumstances.

    “Luckily” I can be technically be considered disabled. If I can convince my boss to allow me to work from home 2-3 times a week, I plan on using the ADA rules to try for the same allowance. Hopefully that works because I don’t want to look for a new job.

    1. A tester, not a developer*

      I’m in a very similar position (in Canada). I had ‘accommodations’ to work from home 1 day a week for a while before Covid, and working from home has caused a dramatic improvement to my health. I take a lot of immunosuppressing drugs, so it’s been lovely to not get every bug that goes around an office for a change.

      Right now it sounds like working from home indefinitely won’t be an issue, but if it comes right down to it I’ll have my doctor do up the paperwork. It would be pretty difficult for the company to claim that it puts an undue hardship on them if it’s been working for well over a year.

      1. wittyrepartee*

        Yes, I’m both looking to get ADA accomodations in the short term because my health drastically improved during covid, but I’m also looking into a workplace where flexible schedules or full time remote work are the norm.

    2. Piggly Wiggly*

      I would most likely start my search if they changed their mind on the current 3 days wfh/2 in office plan to start later this fall. I’m lucky enough to be a field that can be 100% remote and is in high demand. The flexibility this new world has offered for personal care, opportunities for my kids (couldn’t make a 5:00 practice with a commute), and occasional “work from anywhere” getaways is not going to be something I just remember fondly. I will actively make it my reality. I also appreciate being able to exist in my bubble—no more finding a dentist that’s close enough for lunch appts, etc. I can keep to my neighborhood, which is comfortable.

    3. I should really pick a name*

      I’m curious why you’d equate flexible work schedule with WFH. To me, flexible work schedule has to do with hours, not location.

      1. kittymommy*

        Same. This doesn’t sound so much like an altering of an agreement as it is a misunderstanding.

      2. lizw*

        I don’t think Piggle Wiggly is referring to a flexible hours schedule, they are referring to the extra time and convenience gained when working from home because there is no time lost to a commute or having to choose medical providers based on their proximity to the workplace (so that a minimum of sick or PTO is used to cover appointments).

          1. SLR*

            So far my employer has been vague about the future of work from home. They told us they are going to start bringing people back into the office this fall. I work in a customer service call center type of role that is perfectly suited to working remotely. We use Microsoft teams and we have weekly meetings and everything is seamless. The management team can monitor all of our stats remotely using typical call Center Software. I’ve made it very clear to my boss that I would like to move to a lower cost of living area. I currently live in Metro Boston Massachusetts and would like to either relocate to New Hampshire or the northern part of Massachusetts where it’s a bit more affordable, quiet and rural. I told them I would have no problem coming into the office once or twice a month for important in-person meetings and trainings, but I would much prefer to work remotely permanently. My quality of life has improved so much! I’m putting Less wear-and-tear & mileage on my vehicle, am spending less on gas every week, I’m actually eating healthier because I’m at home and able to prepare real meals as opposed to eating fast food in the car on the go, my sleep patterns have improved because I’m able to unwind a lot quicker and I just have a better work-life balance overall. I can’t imagine going back to the office 5 days a week. If they told me it was required to work 5 days in the office again, yes, I would absolutely job search which is really sad and disappointing because I actually truly love working for the company that I work for. But I’m a single person living on one income, and I was very open and transparent with my boss that my relocating would purely be out of financial necessity to be in a lower cost of living area. My productivity and metrics are all where they need to be and at my most recent performance review I was told that I’m exceeding expectations. I find myself to be much more productive working alone here in my own private space as opposed to working in an office with all the hustle and bustle and distractions. I am much more productive and I gladly work overtime when they ask me to. I’m working in comfortable tees & camis, sweat pants/leggings and I can go sit in the backyard to take a break, overall my quality of life is just so much better. I really truly hope they let me work from home permanently, I don’t even want a hybrid option. I want to be permanently remote. I think that anyone who is in a role that is truly well-suited to remote work, and as long as they are meeting or exceeding their productivity goals and metrics, they should be given the option to work remotely permanently.

            1. green beans*

              We’re in Boston and having a bit of the opposite problem, where people are not able to afford accommodations that are suitable for work from home (a number of people are working in their bedrooms or tiny living room/kitchens) and really want to return to the office.

            2. iantrovert (they/them)*

              I actually just moved in the other direction–Seacoast to Central MA–because it is a lower cost of living area, believe it or not. The housing costs were just skyrocketing, to the point where a condo with a garage in Dover cost as much as places within 495. Sure, now I pay income tax, but I also get things like consistent plowing and road paving (although I could do without the temporary extra traffic of the rt 2 paving, it beats NH-16 potholes!). Very happy with WFH in my own quiet place here, and now within only an hour’s drive of Boston.

              1. Notyourmom*

                Even more rural in western MA, housing prices are skyrocketing here too from all the Easterners moving here for a better more affordable quality of life. Its very difficult to buy a house right now, they are being sold very quickly and above asking price. Its so crazy! Residents fleeing inside 495 has had quite an impact on the entire region.

      3. Clisby*

        I agree. I worked 17-18 years fully remote as a computer programmer before retiring, but even during the almost 9 years I spent in the office I had a flexible work schedule. The official schedule was: Show up between 7 and 9; take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes lunch; and work a total of 8 hours outside of lunch. So I could work 7-3:30, or 9-6:30, or pretty much anything in between. Once I had been there a couple of years, my manager didn’t really care if I came in at 6 a.m. and left at 2:30 p.m., or came in at 10 and worked until 7 p.m. I could vary this from day to day – I didn’t have to declare a schedule and stick to it. That’s what “flexible work schedule” means to me.

    4. Kristin*

      This is what I did. We’re not back in the office FT for a few weeks yet, but when they started chatter about returning I got all my ducks lined up and submitted an official request for partial wfh (citing, in part, the fact that my office is NOT accessible) under an ADA accommodation (I had to get a doctor’s note and remind them of the ADA’s existence to get them to consider it, but since it’s proven we CAN work from home effectively there wasn’t much they could do to argue with it, though I’m positive they’d not have approved full time WFH so I didn’t even try). When I return I’ll be in office MWF and home T/TH. I’d prefer permanent WFH, or only one day in office, but I’ll take what I can get.

      Also plan on job hunting for WFH jobs after a year or so (just started a new position at my current job).

    5. T2*

      We are going WFH and closing our office permanently. I pointed out to my boss that we have been killing it the past 16 months. Closing the office saves $4000 a month in rent.

    6. Nancy Drew*

      We were all commanded to come back to work by the CEO. Departmental managers have no say and must follow this dictate. I was completely home, then hybrid. I loved hybrid. I plan to retire at the end of the year unless the hybrid model is reinstated, which is supposedly being considered. But we have heard nothing so far. After being asked about retention/recruitment for employees to WFH during a town meeting, our CEO asked, “Do we really want these kinds of employees?” So out of touch….

  3. Ali G*

    Not me, but at my husband’s office: they’ve lost a number of employees over the last year, with the most recent ones being in the younger crowd who want to live elsewhere or have more flexibility.
    Recently a long-time employee left (apparently without anything lined up) gave notice citing she only wanted to work remotely 100%. They had apparently offered about 50% WFH and she didn’t even want to try it out.
    It does seem to be make or break for some. Fortunately, pretty much everyone I know will be on some sort of hybrid model going forward.

    1. Liz*

      I agree. Pre-COVID, my company’s WFH policy was 2 days a week was “allowed” although we had some fully remote employees, not just local, but who lived in another state. Different rules for different people though! Trust me, there’s been a lot of resentment about that over the years!

      But getting back to now; we are set to go back the middle of July, and it was said transition back gradually, and be back to “normal” after Labor Day. But not details, and not really sure what normal actually means! My one boss said he and our director discussed maybe one or two days a week initially but other than that, I have no clue.

      I just heard through the grapevine though that the previous WFH policies will be scrapped, and it will be up to each individual manager and department. I also heard, but don’t know how true this is, since unvaccinated people must wear masks, they will not be allowed to continue to WFH because of that, nor will anyone with a valid medical reason. Which will be interesting when people produce doctor’s notes.

      While i am not a huge fan of WFH, i’m not sure I want to go back 5 daysa week. I’d be happy with a hybrid, and hoping to do 2 days WFH, 3 in the office. I woouldn’t quit my job over it

      1. CouldntPickAUsername*

        I think that’s honestly one of the biggest problems right now is the lack of details. Work places need to be clear on what they are allowing going forward. Just saying ‘we’ll be flexible’ isn’t good enough, in fact it’s probably false in a lot of cases.

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          This 100%. And flexible can mean so many things to so many people! I may think flexible means I’m wfh a majority of the time but will come in for specific reasons/meetings, they may think flexible means wfh 4 days a week with one-offs allowed as needed. And if we both spend the summer thinking that without further clarification, at least one of us is going to be very unhappy come September.

        2. Lexie*

          When I hear “flexible” I interpret it as the employee needs to be completely flexible in their personal life so as to completely meet the needs of the employer and clients. This is a based on an experience with a former employer that billed the schedule as flexible.

        3. Erin C.*

          Completely! Our company head is committed to a “flexible” schedule and the rest of management has pushed him to put what that means in writing, but has yet to do so. Everyone agrees we’ve been very productive WFH-ing, but a lot of us are also eager to get back to office interactions. My boss has said she’d rather not have our team do “hybrid,” with everyone picking their days to be in the office, but that working from home is always an option when something comes up (whether that’s just the need for quiet writing time or home with a sick kid.

      2. Djuna*

        We’ve been asked (multiple times!) what we want and I said 3 days per week in the office, reducing to 2 in focus weeks (deadline weeks for large projects). Most of my team seems to be on the same page as me, and we have all been really productive from home so my manager doesn’t think there’ll be an issue.
        It does seem to be being decided by manager and department for us too, which could mean some parts of the company have fewer (or no) WFH days whenever we return to the office.
        There’s no must-be-vaccinated rule where I work, but since I’m fully vaccinated now I’m less worried on that front than I would have been a month ago. Of course, emerging variants could make those worries return!

      3. Fae Kamen*

        I know it’s considered a perk, but really shouldn’t the unvaccinated people work from home so they won’t infect anyone at the office?

        1. imaginaryoranges*

          The worry is that if people who aren’t vaxxed get to WFH, it will lead to people not getting vaxxed IN ORDER TO continue working from home. Not all people, obviously, but those who are on the fence about getting vaccinated to begin with? Could be a real problem.

    2. Ali G*

      I’ll also contrast this with my workplace. When you give people the choice, I think they will do what’s best for them to properly do their jobs. In my office, people are already starting to go back in a few days a week. I start on Monday going in on Monday’s and Tuesdays, because those are days I have standing meetings and I think it will be more productive for me to do those meetings in-person with my co-workers. I don’t ever have to go back in if I don’t want (non of us do), but I think we’ve all realized that WFH is great but there are some things just better done in person (you can do them fine at home, but better in person) and we all want to do the best we can in our jobs. It helps this is actually a healthy workplace environment!

      1. PersephoneUnderground*

        Same goes for my office- it’s being handled very well! They’ve made it clear we’re officially “closed” through December but are allowing limited numbers of people to go in on a voluntary basis (we sign up on a Google spreadsheet), and just relaxed the rules to allow people to not wear masks in the office suite, since they are requiring us to be fully vaccinated to go in (my only worry is the lack of an apparent enforcement mechanism for that, but due to the nature of our work- someone against vaccines or who doesn’t believe in Covid just wouldn’t ever take this job- and what people have mentioned socially, I’m pretty sure all or nearly all of us are vaxxed). This was decided based on a series of staff surveys about what we wanted and our comfort levels throughout the pandemic. What “closed” means is that you will never be asked or expected to go to the office- managers can’t tell their team to all come in for a meeting for instance. We don’t know what official reopening will look like when it happens, but we’re expecting some sort of hybrid. And several people will have to remain 100% remote since they moved away, or were hired during the pandemic and never lived locally to begin with.

      2. PersephoneUnderground*

        And yes, like Ali G’s office people are going in voluntarily when it works for them, mostly to get a quiet place to work if home was never a great setup, or to just get out of the house. Some departments are trying to coordinate potentially coming in on the same days if we plan to anyway so we can collaborate in person, but again managers aren’t allowed to have a hand in that to keep from pressuring anyone to come in.

    3. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

      My son is leaving his job due to this issue, along with many others at his employer. His job is easily done from home, and he was happy to do 2 days a week in the office, but the employer decided that as of August 1, anyone with his job title (and several others) had to be 100% back in the office, no exceptions. Everyone he works with says he’s an exceptional employee, but there’s nothing they can do. He is moving out of the city to find a job in a better cost of living area.

      1. Hei Hei, the Chicken from Moana*

        The “youngs” leaving jobs is so puzzling to me. I am an old at 44 and the idea of walking away from a job without having another lined up terrifies me to my core. Is it b/c I’m Gen X? Or b/c I’m just anxious in general?

        1. Bagpuss*

          I suppose it depends – one advantage of being younger is that you may have fewer major commitments such as mortgage payments, are less likely to have dependents, etc, so may be able to feel more confident about leaving on the basis that you can potentially be more flexible about where you go next, and of course in some cases may have the fall back of being able to move back ‘home’ if they need to.

          And of course if they are good at their jobs and have always been able to find jobs fairly easily they may be more optimistic, whereas anyone whose ever has the experience of job searching in a recession, or in other circumstances where it takes forever to find a new job is likely to be much more aware of the potential risks!

          1. Fran Fine*

            All of this. I’m 34 and I’d never leave a job without another lined up because I graduated into the Great Recession – I distinctly remember what it was like being unemployed while job searching and how horrible it was (I didn’t find a job until almost a year after graduation). My younger brother, on the other hand, has no such qualms because the economy had already rebounded by the time it was time for his post-grad job search and even though he has kids, he’s always had an easy time getting jobs and is convinced he can always find another pretty quickly.

            1. Maeve*

              33 and same, I would never quit a job without one lined up because I assume that would lead to homelessness.

            2. aamezz*

              I’m 35 and hard same. I distinctly remember one time, interviewing in 2008 fresh out of college, a hiring manager told me that i had a great resume for my age and in a normal economy she’d hire me in a heartbeat but that in the current economy she could hire someone with 10 years experience for the same price. She told me it was going to be a tough market college grads and wished me luck.

        2. Jasper*

          At our age we’ve probably built up capital in the form of a higher salary than entry level, and networks. And a spending pattern to match, possibly including mortgages and mouths to feed. When your spending and your income are both basically the same as entry level and you’re free of encumbrance, leaving is easier.

        3. T. J. Juckson*

          I’m an anxiety-riddled Gen Xer– and after getting a PhD have worked in low-paid arts or non-profit jobs my entire life, so my financial resources are limited– and I am ready to quit without anything lined up. I’m fed up. And I’m at the point that I assume the worst-case scenario probably wouldn’t actually be worse than my actual situation. At least it would be different and I tried.

          1. Engiknitter*

            So, I thought that I would be one to quit if I had to come back into the office full time. I’ve been WFH 99% of the time for a year and a half and I love the flexibility etc etc. Well…corporate said a couple weeks ago that everybody had to come back; my manager said we didn’t, kind of. If HR makes a fuss he’ll have to comply or whatever but they’re in a different building so we can kind of fly under the radar.

            All that being said, I’ve been coming into work every day for two weeks now, mostly by choice. I needed to come in and build tools last week, and I’ve been doing a lot of running around coordinating things this week. I could have come in just for the one thing, but it’s been simpler to just be here. I did just get a promotion to a more people-involved position a month ago and it came with an office, so I might very well have felt otherwise if I didn’t have the ability to close a door. But…I’ve enjoyed being back. I get a lot more exercise working in the office, it’s been nice to see people again, and the day goes by faster. I do miss the perks of being at home already, so I think my ideal would be a 2/3 or a 3/2 hybrid. But I’m less averse than I expected. I think people are very adaptable by nature, so employers may end up getting less pushback than the national narrative would suggest.

        4. Bagpuss*

          I should have said, at 47 I’m not one of the youngs anymore either, but I graduated into the bust of a huge boom and bust cycle in my industry so my first experience of looking for a professional job was one where there were literally 100s of applicants for every vacancy – I spent 6 months without work – So I have always been very conscious of how hard it can be (I also had a truly toxic boss very early in my career and with wonderful timing found myself again looking for a job at a time when jobs were very thin on the ground… that was the only time I ever considered leaving a job with nothing to go to, although mercifully in the end I didn’t have to.)

          I suspect that if your early experiences are in a more buoyant job market your attitudes may be a bit different.

        5. The New Wanderer*

          I (GenX) have been laid off twice and didn’t immediately job hunt either time, but I had a financial cushion each time so I didn’t feel a lot of urgency. I also chose a field that doesn’t have a lot of opportunities especially if you’re geographically constrained, so I already knew that new jobs could take a while to find. My GenX husband has quit jobs without lining something up but his field does tend to have more opportunities (though fewer these days at his seniority level).

          I would say it’s more anxiety/comfort level with uncertainty + financial situation than generational.

        6. A Simple Narwhal*

          Just because he is planning to leave his job doesn’t mean he’s already quit/put in notice with nothing lined up. The plan could be in place and he’s told friends/family what he’s going to do without officially quitting yet.

          It also depends on what industry he’s in – it would probably take me a while to find a new job so I’d be hesitant to leave a non-awful job with nothing lined up, but my husband could quit his job today and start a new one on Monday if he wanted.

          Overall I’d be hesitant to make this a youngs vs olds argument, there are so many factors in how people conduct themselves, we also have no idea how old Josephine Beth NotAmy’s son is, he could be the same age as you!

          Fun side note, I was rewatching Friends a few years ago and was horrified when Chandler quit his job with nothing lined up in one of the early episodes, just because it wasn’t his dream job. Ah, the 90s were truly something else.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            Fun side note, I was rewatching Friends a few years ago and was horrified when Chandler quit his job with nothing lined up in one of the early episodes, just because it wasn’t his dream job. Ah, the 90s were truly something else.

            That’s also a sitcom; writers have always been able to write things that have never been truly realistic.

            1. A Simple Narwhal*

              Ha I’m aware it’s a sitcom and not 100% realistic, but it can still be reflective of the attitude of the times.

              1. Eliza*

                Chandler also had a rich family to fall back on, which is pretty helpful in that kind of situation even in real life.

        7. Uchitsya*

          I would say this has very little to do with age or temperament and almost everything to do with financial security. People can quit jobs without something else lined up when they have enough money to survive for a chunk of time without a job and enough of a safety net that they don’t feel like disaster is imminent if they run out of savings.

          And some of that comes from working in industries that pay well, but a whole lot of it comes from generational wealth, which is a taboo topic in American society.

        8. J.E.*

          I also wonder this about someone at any age leaving without something lined up. If I did that, with my luck, I’d be out of work for a long time. I am kicking myself, though, that I’m not better with tech and STEM as it seems it’s so much easier to find jobs in those fields.

        9. HarvestKaleSlaw*

          I think it’s less generational and more how much capital you have: social and economic.

          If you have substantial savings, or generational wealth, or comfortable parents from whom you are not estranged – well, that’s a lot different from not knowing where rent would come from the month after next. It is the confidence that you can survive for months and years without income, instead of days or weeks.

          And there is social capital and educational capital – if you have a lot of connections, a name degree, an alumni network, fit in easily with management, have an in-demand skill – that gives you more confidence too that you can get something quickly. If you’re the poster-child for imposter syndrome, you might not feel as sanguine.

        10. Erin C.*

          I (42) left my last job with nothing lined up, and a mortgage to pay. I was miserable. I also knew that worst-case scenario, my parents were willing to be my safety net (in fact, they handed me a check the week I quit and I handed it back, saying I didn’t want their help until I actually needed it.) I spent a few months trying to figure out what my next steps were, and luckily found a job I love, even though I hadn’t expected to stay in the same industry.

        11. Heatwave Vortex*

          It’s a personal and not a generational thing.

          I’m a 52 year old (same age as Molly Ringwald) GenX-er, and I’ve walked away from in the past and not only survived but *thrived*. I have many friends who have done the same.

          None of what the Millennials are doing is new, nor are the arguments about flexible or remote work. It’s just that people are paying attention now.

        12. Dolly*

          I am 48. My husband and I have long planned to move south. Then COVID paused our plans. I worked from home EXCLUSIVELY for over a year with no issues. During this time, we also begin moving forward with our moving plans in earnest. In May I made a formal request to work remotely from my new state, even just for 3 to 6 months, and it was denied. Despite the fact that I am by all accounts an “exceptional” employee. So here I am, we sold our house, have signed a lease for a new place, and I have no job. We have enough savings to get us through until I found a job. I will be fine. But my employer just cut off its nose to spite its face. All they did was cripple an already short staffed regional office further.

    4. CupcakeCounter*

      Yup. Same thing happened at my employer. My boss, who is not her boss, ended up fighting for her and 3 other employees to be permanent full time WFH. His logic was they have been doing it full time for the last 18 months and doing is amazingly well and if we lost them we would be in absolute chaos for a minimum of 6+ months while we backfilled the role and got them training. The GM was still hemming and hawing until 6 more people put in notice (they are hemorrhaging people, myself included) and he gave in simply because he didn’t have a choice.

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        I’m starting to seriously wonder: what is the sticking point with these mangers? If they don’t dispute it’s going amazingly well, and they don’t dispute they would be hosed if their WFH-desiring employees quit tomorrow… what’s left? Is it just fun to see employees working away at desks? Is it the sunk cost fallacy that they already paid for the space? What?

        1. Autumnheart*

          I’d honestly like to know that, too. Why cannot managers overcome this psychological block? Like, if they like working in an office, and corporate management in general is optimized for people who like being an office, then fine–work in an office all they want. But why do *I* have to work in an office just because that’s what *they* like?

    5. TiffIf*

      At my company, we have lost a few developers who want to be 100% WFH but the VP over their division is set against it. The official model going forward is 3 days in office/2 days WFH per week. I don’t want full time WFH but the 3/2 split is just about perfect for me. Pre-Covid we already had a policy that allowed WFH for one day per week.

      The weird (nonsensical) part is the WFH allowance heavily depends on your division. My department is in a weird situation where we all work on the same product but are under different arms of the organization which means the product manager who regularly works with those same developers who have been denied full time WFH, is full time WFH (she moved to a different state last year) though she does intend to come to the office a few days a month–like a three or four day span in the same week.

      A few years a go I did talk to my grandboss about working remotely if I moved and he said “oh yeah, that’s no problem” but that was at least two re-orgs ago and so while I have the same grandboss, I don’t know if the rules of our division have changed.

      There’s always been flexibility for unusual situations–like my co-worker whose mother had a stroke a few years ago ended up working remotely quite heavily while her mother was recovering/in the hospital/in therapy etc. but it wasn’t considered full WFH.

      1. TiffIf*

        Add:
        The reason I don’t want 100% WFH currently is I have a terrible WFH setup. And housing is increasingly unaffordable (I know this applies just about everywhere, but I could easily afford to live elsewhere even with a downward COL adjustment if I move, the housing prices are just particularly out of whack). If I could find a place where I would have a better WFH setup I totally wouldn’t have a proble with 100% remote (a dedicated office space perhaps? instead of the craft table in my bedroom–small apartments suck for WFH).

        1. Heather*

          I definitely understand this. My fiancé and I have been able to make it work in our apartment pretty well, but it’s not perfect and I can only imagine it’s a downright nightmare for some folks.

          Especially with COVID, plenty of people chose a living space not even considering they would need to WFH at any point, so now they have to scramble to find something to effectively accommodate an unforeseen need.

      2. pbnj*

        Similar at mine, some divisions have more flexibility and there’s variations on what HR is willing to negotiate on for new hires (ex: vacation time). It can be frustrating when the reason they give is “well their boss allows it, but ours doesn’t, so…..”. So arbitrary.

    6. RemotelyCommenting*

      Yeah, this was me. Asked my boss if we would consider full time remote (with maybe coming in for team meetings once a week.) I was told that was “impossible.” Found a full time remote gig at a $5k pay cut and was gone in about a month after that conversation. I am much happier working from home and doubt I will ever return to a full time office job.

  4. StressedButOkay*

    For my current job, I don’t think so. My work was always pretty flexible – we had the option of 1-3 WFH days before the pandemic. So even if we were shifting to go back into the office like we had been pre-COVID, I know we’d still be doing some WFH and while I’d miss it every day, I could stand to go back.

    Will it be a consideration if I start to job hunt? Oh yes. I’d be looking specifically for full or almost full WFH jobs moving forward, which opens the market to me a lot.

    1. Ali G*

      Same. Unless I can just walk across the street or something I don’t foresee me taking a future job that doesn’t include some WFH and flexible schedule (which I also had pre-pandemic).

    2. Liza*

      Same here: I wouldn’t leave my current job over it (because this company earned a lot of loyalty from me by how they handled a health issue I had a while back) but for future positions I’d definitely look for full or almost full WFH positions. I’ve found that I love working from home and I’m much more productive this way!

      A big part of the reason I’m more productive working from home is that people don’t walk up to me with interruptions when I’m trying to focus on a more complex project. These interruptions are all reasonable requests, but when I’m in the office I can’t batch them up to look at after my focus block–instead I get interrupted and lose focus again and again, and it takes a while to get back into focus each time.

    3. Anonym*

      Same. I had 1 day WFH pre-COVID, which was nice but not enough in our high cost of living/long commutes area. We’re going back this fall to 3 in office / 2 from home, which I’d rather reverse. I’m interviewing for an internal role now, and how this will play out in that team is a significant factor for me. For context, I work in a corporate function that can be done from anywhere, but can also benefit from collaboration (think communications, strategy, program development).

      I will never willingly do full time in the office again unless I’m in dire financial straits or the pay/opportunity is unicorn-level absurdly amazing. Even then I’d hesitate. Life is short and unpredictable, and spending 500+ hours a year commuting is a terrible waste of mine. Forcing people fully onsite for jobs that don’t require it by their nature is becoming a really bad look on an employer (rigid, poor culture around employees and work/life balance, weak on real performance metrics… the list of orange to red flags it raises goes on).

      1. AFT*

        I could have written this – down to the 3/2 versus 2/3, and prior experience of 4/1. Things have changed and one size fits all rules of “you must be in the office all the time” are not going to fly any more for computer/desk-based workers.

      2. Gina*

        This. Work doesn’t pay me enough to work close to the office. The notion of my spending 20 hours a week commuting again has made me depressed.

    4. Data Bear*

      Same. My job has always been super-duper flexible with regard to when you’re actually in the office, so somebody saying “butts in seats 9-5 M-F” would be a huge change from the way it was before the pandemic, and I can’t see that happening. (A recent organizational survey indicated that the overwhelming majority would prefer some kind of hybrid setup. The fact that they asked the question and reported the results says to me that it’s very unlikely management will impose a 100% in-person requirement.) But it would definitely be a major consideration if I started looking for a new job elsewhere.

      1. same same*

        Yeah! I’m replying to you Data Bear since I’m in a similar position, just a little further along in the process. My company has been really proactive with communication throughout the pandemic and started running surveys about mid-pandemic to start getting the general feelings from everyone.

        We had many people that very much missed the office, and many others who did not – where they landed is, anyone that wants to be fully remote can be – they can even move wherever they want. (previously WFH was up to individual managers and teams, so there was a lot of disparity there)

        Anyone that wants to come into the office also can do so – at their own discretion, anywhere from everyday or 1 day a week. They’ve also re-organized the new office space for this type of hybrid system, with set areas for specific teams/people always in and hot desks for people that are only in once in awhile. We’re currently in a trial period where a very small group of people (from diverse teams) are trialing being in the office so they can work out any kinks with social distancing and masking.

        (I read this back now and it feels a bit… braggy? I don’t mean it that way, by intent is to hopefully show there are a few companies trying to ensure most people are happy and if successful maybe more will start following – I’m also fairly certain recruiting is using this all heavily to lure others to the company)

    5. Rav*

      This is my rationale at the moment. But there’s an additional wrinkle in the mix: politics.

      I’m a minority (Hispanic) and the January 6 insurrection and the aftermath was an eye opener to me (been following USA politics for 10 years+). Usually moving to the continental USA is a big improvement in labor remuneration, but not if it’s at the risk of my well being.

  5. EE*

    I have been remote since 2019, although I was a special case at my job until Covid. Since I live in a different state I would have to quit if they changed the policy.

    1. Duckles*

      Same situation (current job was always fully remote) but also I don’t think I’d take a job in the future that wasn’t at least 3 days a week, if not fully, remote. QOL is just so much better.

  6. ArtK*

    I’ve been a remote employee for the last 21 years. I live 300+ miles from the nearest corporate facility and travel (pre-COVID) to the office every month or two. I would likely quit if they said that I had to go into the office. That’s especially true if the office was a cube-farm. I’m far too used to working in my little room at home to change now.

    1. Serin*

      My situation is similar: if we were ordered to come off of remote, I would probably have to move to another town, which I would definitely not be willing to do.

      If there were a facility in town, an order to go work there wouldn’t be enough to make me quit all by itself, but it would definitely reduce my job satisfaction. I’d probably slide along the looking-for-work continuum from “satisfied but open to possibilities” to “passive job search.”

      Another way this experience has changed me: I’m going to be much quicker to take a remote day for my own convenience. If the weather looks at all iffy for driving, if I woke up with a sore throat, if someone schedules me for a meeting right at 8 a.m. and I’d rather be prepping than commuting, if I just don’t feel like scraping the windshield, if I had a bad night’s sleep and would like to be able to nap at lunchtime — I’m not going to hesitate to take a work-from-home day, and I’ll expect to be accommodated.

    2. Smitten By Juneau*

      I am about to start year 15 of being fully remote, 3,000 miles from “the office”, so going back isn’t an option for me. Fortunately we’ve begun announcing our post-COVID plans, which reflect the fact that the vast majority of my colleagues want to continue being remote, and have jobs that have been effectively handled remotely for 15 months now. So my in-town colleagues are being asked to schedule 2-hour windows in which they will return to their office and remove all their belongings. This will allow our facilities team to deep-clean, repair and reconstruct our office spaces. We don’t have the final details yet (and I doubt that they even exist) but leadership has indicated their intent to provide significantly more ‘guest’ space for staff that need to come into the office occasionally.

      We do have staff that are still on-premise, but even they have altered their roles. Computer operators now only staff one person onsite per shift, with the rest being remote. (Someone still needs to physically change out tapes for the backup library robot, for example, and let in service techs when maintenance is necessary.) And of course our network installers and repair techs have to work on-prem.

    3. RowanUK*

      Yes, I’m the same way. I’ve been fully remote for 13 years and I have a great set-up for me (a dedicated room and I live alone). My company used to share a hub office, but we’ve ditched it now and everyone’s fully remote.

      If I ever looked for a new job now, it would have to be 100% remote.

    4. Hats Are Great*

      I’ve been fully remote for 6 years and am starting to look around. I wouldn’t mind going to an office sometimes, but the ability to work from home AND to have flexibility in work times is really important to me. My work is a mix of tasks with timelines (but can be accomplished whenever as long as they’re done by the due date) and on-call hours. I never miss an on-call hour or a team meeting. But the flexibility to do my not-on-call work on my own schedule is HUGE. I have three kids, one of whom has a significant disability. On a typical workday, I work four hours during the normal workday when they’re at school on non-call tasks, when I take meetings and make calls. And then I work my four on-call hours 8 to midnight, when they’re in bed. This lets me take my kid to routine therapy and medical appointments, supervise homework, have dinner as a family, volunteer at my other kids’ schools, etc. (And my coworkers love that I voluntarily take the hated 8-to-midnight hours.)

      I wouldn’t need exactly that arrangement, obviously, but being able to work my day around my disabled kid is essential. And being able to split my work into two chunks is really a great model for me — one chunk during the day when other people are at work, the other chunk late at night when I’m by far my most productive. (Before I had kids, I worked second shift jobs by choice, those are just my best brain hours.)

      But basically I could not afford the specialized care my kid needs if I had to hire it done unless I were earning $250k/year, so it’s a weird schedule + partial remote or … starve, I guess.

  7. Sidney Bailey*

    Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long. Years ago I worked for a large Oil & Gas company and they went to a model that had a large number of employees as remote or hybrid, and I remember at the time thinking remote work had to be the future, if this “old school” company was moving toward it.

    I think for a lot of us it’s been difficult working from home for a variety of reasons with the pandemic, but in a “normal” environment it offered me a much better work life balance and the ability to spend time with my small child, along with less time commuting, less money spent on work clothes, etc etc.

    1. elle*

      My mom had an all-remote job starting in like 1992, before she even had a computer in her home. It was mail and eventually fax-based. It was for a nonprofit working in communication. I can’t believe the working world has been so slow to catch on.

    2. Thursdaysgeek*

      I currently work for a large utility, and they have not been “old school” about this at all. When Covid started, they sent everyone home, told them to take whatever equipment was needed to keep working. While we were out, they worked out a telecommuting procedure. They are now transitioning people back to the office – those who aren’t planning on working remotely. Some will be fully remote, some hybrid, and some fully in the office, and all of it is ok.

      Now that we are moving to a non-emergency work from home phase, there are requirements for working from home, if we want to stay there. I can’t get fast enough internet where I live, so I’m back in the office. It’s lonely here.

    3. ophelia*

      Yes, agreed. I have worked from home since 2010 (!), but I was one of a few off-site employees. Now, my company is transitioning to almost complete WFH, and converting our office space into meeting rooms and hot desks for people who have a reason to come in. I *will* say that I am very much looking forward to my husband going back to the office (his firm is moving to more of a hybrid model), as we’ve been working side by side in a small “office” in our apartment for a year, and it’s been challenging to navigate when we both have phone calls, etc.

  8. Becca CM*

    My mental health and attitude have improved a ton from being able to work from home and manage my time without constant observation. I started a new job during the pandemic and have gotten great feedback from my bosses. If they tried to bring me back into the office 40 hours a week, I would push back strongly and begin to explore other job options. I’m happy to go into the office some, but I know now all that I’d miss out on if I spent 40 hours a week in a cubicle.

    1. Girasol*

      This is an important point. Remote work has forced managers to learn to communicate better and manage on results instead of observing whether employees are butt-in-seat and looking busy. I can imagine a lot of managers reverting to old bad habits where a return to the office is made mandatory.

      1. English, not American*

        The other side of that coin is that I’m back to operating as I did for the six months that I didn’t have a manager because I hear from him so infrequently.

        We had a significant system change a few months back that directly impacted how all my reporting works. We knew about it years in advance (contract end date). I didn’t find out until a couple of weeks before that there was no workaround or contingency for one of the main reporting methods used across the organisation, because it just didn’t occur to my boss or the IT lead (who also reports to my boss). Yeah it was an outdated method that needed to change, but I could have handled it if I’d been told about it, instead of just letting it all break while my boss hastily hacked together an alternative for the people who complained.

    2. Ozzie*

      The improvement to mental health and attitude is not talked about enough. I start my work in an automatically better mood simply because I didn’t have to stand on crowded trains for 2 hours before showing up to being lambasted by questions before I even sit down at my desk. Managers really need to consider this.

      1. TechWorker*

        Like everything this will vary between people though, it’s not like wfh is better for 100% of peoples mental health.

        1. Ozzie*

          Absolutely! And how it is a detriment to those it has been a detriment to should also be talked about. It just seems like employee well-being – both sides of the coin – isn’t part of the conversation in many cases, when it absolutely should be. (This will of course vary person to person, but I would guess that there will be certain trends within companies or across industries generally)

          1. PersephoneUnderground*

            Yes, it has to be the center of the conversation. Not to mention, as we can see from this whole discussion, employee well-being translates directly to retention and productivity.

      2. Hats Are Great*

        Yeah I wouldn’t mind going into an office regularly, but it sure as hell would have to be within 30 minutes of my house. I can’t see voluntarily engaging in a 60+ minute commute ever again. The salary would have to be a pretty huge bump, and there’d better be transit benefits on top of that!

    3. username-needed*

      I completely agree with you, Becca CM. My work quality, as well as my mental and physical health, have both improved dramatically during WFH, as well as my overall quality of life. The lack of long commute, loud and distracting open office, toxic management and over-observation have all certainly played a vital role.

      1. Heatwave Vortex*

        Same! Improved mental and physical health and also more agency over the conditions of my work. I have the ability to take my dog for a walk in the afternoon and flex my schedule a bit.

        I got terrible migraines when I was in open office environments. I HATED open office: flickering flourescent lights, loud coworkers or smelly gross food, weird interpersonal territorial stuff about even putting things in your own space. The open office environments felt like some kind of nightmare novel by Albert Camus which I have no intention of ever returning to.

        I would quit my job if they suddenly said I could no longer work remotely (I am GenX).

  9. Jean*

    My dept just went back to the office full time a few weeks ago after wfh for 14 months – I wouldn’t quit my current job over that alone. Wfh has many advantages, but I also like being back in the office. My commute isn’t terrible, so that’s not a huge factor for me.

    That said – going forward, if I were to start actively looking for a new job, remote work policies will weigh extremely heavily in my decision making. Now that I know I can handle full time remote work, and have good strategies in my repertoire, and am more familiar with how those types of policies reflect on a company’s overall culture, it’s going to be way more important to me for any future opportunities. And yes, I would favor part/full remote positions over in-office, all other things being equal.

    1. HS Teacher*

      The commute makes all the difference. When I lived outside of a large city and had a long commute, I’d be miserable at work from the drive in and miserable at home from the drive back. Now my commute is about 10 minutes, and working on site bothers me much less.

      That being said, there are a lot of jobs that really SHOULD be remote or at least have that option. When I worked in finance, I had to dress up for customers I rarely saw in person to sit in an office full of annoying people who would rather stand around talking about their lives than accomplish anything. When I did get to work from home (rare back then), I’d accomplish so much more without the constant interruptions and useless meetings. So if I were still doing office work, I’d only accept a remote position.

  10. Elenia*

    If work from home is permanent –
    and they give us nothing, like they have been, no laptop, no phone, not even an acknowledgement that we are taking the company’s burden onto us –
    I will look for another job. How hard is it to budget and find some laptops or get them donated. I deeply resent having to use my own stuff.

    1. Lurker*

      Do you work for a non-profit? Your company should provide the equipment that you need to do your job properly – you are right it is really crappy of them to put this burden on you!

      1. rachel in nyc*

        I have a friend who works for a major city agency- they were provided with nothing.

        I work for a non-profit university, who always provided us with laptops, in case we needed to WFH. After this year, it was decided that everyone in our department would have laptops as our primary workstations- whether you liked it or not. (We don’t have to take them to the office as long as our office desktops work.)

        Eliminate people handling WFH on 10 yr old laptops.

    2. RandomLawyer*

      This sums up part of my problem with the current set up. It was all ad hoc (understandably given the circumstances when WFH was first implemented) and in the 15 months since my employer has done nothing to make WFH easier or to help me shoulder the burden of doing their work from my living room.

    3. Magenta Sky*

      Strictly speaking, a lot of electronics, *especially* laptops, are pretty hard to get right now, and prices have skyrocketed. (Doesn’t change that they should have provided such from the beginning, before the bottlenecks, but trying to do so now is not quick, cheap or simple.)

      1. Thursdaysgeek*

        My company had people take their desktops home. And monitors, power supplies, whatever was necessary. It wasn’t ideal, but they couldn’t come up with laptops – not that fast, not that many.

        The co-workers who are going to a hybrid schedule – part at the office, part at home – they will need to buy the 2nd set of equipment if they don’t want to haul it back and forth.

        1. Nope, not today*

          My office had some laptops so if you didnt have a computer at home (or used a Mac, etc) you could get one. But they said take any other hardware we need – I still have a keyboard and mouse to return to my office, and I have two monitors from the office that also need to go back (I’ve bought myself a nice new keyboard and mouse since, for home, but have been putting off buying new monitors)

        2. PersephoneUnderground*

          Yeah, I’m surprised *most* companies didn’t just send everyone home with their whole setup, since they obviously weren’t going to need it in the office… Even if they expected it to be temporary, once it was clear it wasn’t, people could easily come in one at a time to get their computers.

      2. CouldntPickAUsername*

        yeah, I work at an office supply store in Canada throughout the pandemic. Laptop stock seems to have largely recovered but printers man, printers are nowhere near available as much as they were before. People just couldn’t grasp the concept that the days of me having 5 different models all at 50 bucks with tons of stock are gone. It’s now you’re lucky to get anything less than 200 dollars.

      3. Cthulhu's Librarian*

        This is so true. I had to place a small order of laptops a couple of months ago, and the sales rep called me up a week or two after the delivery, sounding like he was on the verge of tears. He said he was calling because he just so happy to know that one of his clients’ orders had gotten fulfilled.

        Things are really rough with regards to getting laptops right now.

        1. Fran Fine*

          Sure are – it took my company months to replace my relatively new laptop that suddenly decided to have its battery die on me.

      4. Speaks to Dragonflies*

        On a side note, alot of things are on backorder. We are due for a new work truck, but because there is (according to our fleet manager) an 18 month backlog just for a cab and chassis, they had to put a $5000 transmission in our truck worth $7500.

    4. Trivia Newton-John*

      I work at a law firm and we are also using our own laptops/phones and any other equipment we need, we buy ourselves and it is not reimbursed. I get it.

      1. RandomLawyer*

        And it’s not just about the cost associated with using my own electronics and internet connection (not cheap thanks to monopolies in NY) and the fact that every plaintiff’s lawyer now has my home phone number (UGH!!!!!) but its lack of support work in the home office to make the things I need available at home.

        1. NY LAWYER*

          I’m wondering now if I work with you. I think half the NY Bar has my cell phone number now. We’re not getting any support to WFH which was fine at first but after all this time its no longer an emergency and more of shifting of costs onto us.

      2. Cj*

        I would be thrilled to be able to use my own laptop instead of the company provided one. It is sooooo much better. Security issues prevent this, though.

      3. Fran Fine*

        If they’re going to make you guys work from home and use your own equipment, the least they could do is let you all expense the costs.

    5. StressedButOkay*

      If your work is using Microsoft Teams, push hard to get them to switch business calls to be routed through Teams. We did that the moment we went to remote due to COVID so we didn’t have to use our personal cell phones and it was a life saver. Clients having my personal number was a nightmare and the fact I couldn’t screen out spam prior was driving me nuts as I had to pick up.

      1. Brett*

        Routing business calls through Teams is $$$$. It’s not an affordable cost for most businesses unless their call volume is pretty small.

        1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

          That’s really a cost of doing business though. They either need to pay the cost of Teams, or pay for a separate mobile line for each employee who is expected to answer the phone, even internal calls.

          1. RussianInTexas*

            I created a new Google Voice number for myself to have a separate work number, once I started WFH.

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              I pitched that idea unsuccessfully in lieu of being assigned the Voice Over Internet Protocols phone that’s on my desk. Other coworkers can’t get the VOIP phone to work, so they do use their cellular lines (and even have their personal cell number in their work email signature, so it’s not like it’s on the down low). I just chalked it up to different standards for different employees… but a GV number for work would be nice indeed.

          2. Brett*

            It’s not the cost of Teams. It is the add-on cost for routing business calls through Teams. That add-on is extremely expensive, over $900/employee/year plus additional charges for the lines and call volume, as compared to the $150/employee/year for premium Teams without that feature. You have to purchase it for all employees too, not just individual seats based on role.

            1. StressedButOkay*

              We use Teams Business Voice which costs, for my size organization, about $20 a month per employee. I’m sure there was a set up fee but, as a nonprofit, we wouldn’t have switched if it was going to cost $900 per employee. I’m not sure if there are different models/pricing, etc., but that’s what I’m basing this on.

              1. Brett*

                Yeah, that plan is only available if you have less than 300 employees, and it has some fairly low caps built into it that start racking up costs if you exceed them. If you are over 300 employees or need higher caps, then you have to upgrade your enterprise plan to one that starts at over $70/employee/month.

        2. Gail*

          My very large company just switched all our calls to go through teams. They tell us they are savings many 100k per month by getting rid of phone lines.

    6. Smithy*

      On the issue of work environment – this past year has made me incredibly aware and more demanding on the materials needed for work to be comfortable. As someone who does a lot of “sit at computer” work, having the ergonomic chair, keyboard, monitors at X height have all become features I care about. And far more deeply as many of those items I had to purchase myself.

      What I’ve learned about myself is I really like having a dedicated work station. If it were a job where they wanted WFH 2-3 days a week, I would have a lot more questions about what my work station in the office would look like. Regular hot desking where I’d typing on a laptop while sitting at a random desk/table/high top table/couch sounds horrific, and if nothing else – I know a lot more types of questions around workspaces I’d definitely be asking now.

      A workplace providing more overall compensation for phone/internet/WFH expenses would be great – but at this time the idea of WFH 2-3 days a week actually sounds the worst. And because of that, it does create a preference to closer to full time remote or full time in the office, which inevitably narrows the scope based on how far I’d be willing to commute.

      1. Hybrid before*

        I have been wfh for 5 years and was hybrid for 5 before that. When hybrid we used docking stations for laptops. So I had a full monitor/keyboard/mouse setup on my desk in the office and at home in my office. So all I do is plug the laptop into it and I have a workstation both places.

      2. netlawyer*

        This is my challenge as well. I brought my IT equipment home at the beginning of the pandemic and ended up buying myself a second monitor. I have an office, but the couple of times I’ve gone in, I’m stuck pecking on my laptop – and longing for my home setup. I’m still wfh (have been in twice now for specific meetings) but I’d need to request additional equipment for the office and I’m afraid they’d just tell me to bring everything back in so I haven’t done that yet.

        Also, I changed jobs in November 2019 and one of the big benefits was going from a 45 minute commute to 20 minutes. Well, as a result of the pandemic, my employer consolidated a lot of office space and move a lot of employees to hoteling – but the new location is over an hour each way from my house even with reduced traffic. So I’m in this situation where I’ve been wfh almost the whole time I’ve worked there, my commute has tripled, my boss made sure our team has dedicated offices (which suggests to me that he’s going to want us on-site eventually) and I don’t want to raise the issue because I don’t know if I want the answer. So I’m just waiting to see what they do. (Our CEO has been clear tho that “business as usual” is over and managers need to look at the work that needs to be done – my boss has been good so far but he’s old school and often points out that he was in every day during the entire pandemic while we were all at home. So a mixed message there.)

    7. The Rural Juror*

      The only time I have ever used my personal laptop for work was when I wanted to use my Photoshop software for something. It’s not ok to ask employees to use their own equipment for a plethora of reasons. ESPECIALLY if were being asked to store files with anyone’s personal information on your personal computer (such as the plaintiffs you mention). NOT OKAY.

      Good luck finding another job!

    8. Brett*

      It’s extremely hard to get laptops right now, and has nothing to do with budget (the laptops themselves are cheaper than ever). There are shortages right and left, and it is taking months to get them purchased, imaged, and in the hands of employees.

    9. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      California has a new WFH reimbursement requirement, but from what I understand it’s left up to the business to decide what is “reasonable” and my org decided that $20 a month was reasonable to cover people working from home for their internet/phone/utilities (they also got to take their office computers home). I happen to think that is unreasonably low and would expect my employer to pay $100 a month of my internet at the least. If I were to be required to work from home, I might quit if they didn’t make it MUCH more reasonable because right now, we’ve had no increase in salaries for the second year (while inflation has been estimated at around 4-6%) and we’re shouldering the majority of the costs to do business while the org has patted themselves on the back about all their great cost savings.

    10. RussianInTexas*

      My company provided nothing either, I barely managed to take a monitor home (my laptop is too small). When I go to the office to some documents issues, I take printing paper and FedEx supplies.
      I had to buy a printer/scanner, new laptop, monitor stand, etc. Now, a coworker of mine good to the office to print and scan documents (we work with contracts), so theoretically I didn’t have to do all that.
      The company did not close the office (an essential supply chain business), so it was basically “if you want to work from home, do so (for the pandemic), but you are on your own.
      We don’t even have any kind of company approved meeting software. My department organized slack on the down low.
      I am all set up now, and don’t want to go back, partially because I had to invest in working from home.

      1. Elenia*

        I am fortunate that I have my own space and office to work from. But it’s not just that they haven’t provided laptops, it’s that they still haven’t said a thing about it. Just continue shouldering the burden. Here is a horrible app so you can use your own cellphone. But it only works sometime.
        But for now I am doing hybrid.

    11. Yorick*

      My job’s new policy is that they will not provide office supplies. They did give laptops, monitors, and things like that, but I now have to buy my own paper and pens and file folders and what have you.

      We kept seeing all these posts and emails about, “We have so many excess chairs/desks/whatever at Office Location! If your work location needs these, please come get them! Everything left on Date will be recycled! *Note: This does not apply to employees working from home. WFH employees cannot take this stuff*” ugggghhhhhh

      1. Faith the twilight slayer*

        Wait, what? They’d rather throw stuff away that they’ve already paid for than give it to employees who legitimately need it? No offense but what kind of clown college logic is that?

        1. The New Wanderer*

          I’m to return my 2 yr old work cellphone because it’s “too old” to run our latest software, but I can’t keep it or buy it and when I return it, it’s going straight to recycling rather than reuse. Also I’m supposed to voluntarily mail it back at my own personal cost unless I can go to one of the handful of identified offices in person to surrender it. I’m happy they provide us with devices, but this wastefulness is really frustrating!

          Needless to say it’s been sitting here at home with me for six months.

          1. English, not American*

            For our laptops, the company won’t just give them away or sell them to employees because of the laws surrounding batteries as hazardous waste. If they let employees buy/keep the laptops they’d become a distributor and would have to maintain records of who each laptop went to indefinitely, which they’re not willing to do, so everything goes to a recycling/refurbishing charity. There might be something similar at play with your company phones.

    12. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I was hired into remote BYOD and I’d love to return to it. My employer-provided stuff is one-size-fits-all, where I can invest in higher quality where it counts to me (including security).

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I also would cease to worry about any of the business’s property getting damaged.

    13. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      At my job we got told to take our computers off our desks and take them to our houses. So they provided the equipment and we provided the internet. Which means when I do go into the office for a few necessary tasks I do not have a computer to access while I am there.

    14. Pineapple Cake*

      Hard. Same.

      Using my own laptop and my own phone in my tiny flat in a crummy neighbourhood (like…no room for a proper desk and chair, even if I had the spare cash to buy them), paying for 24/7 heat and electricity, has been brutal. My senior colleagues work from home offices or spare bedrooms, and they don’t understand why some of the junior folks are so desperate to get back in.

      (Also — most of us, myself included, are foreign-born, and it’s the type of job where you move around a lot. Trying to build a community during a pandemic when your family’s on the other side of the world and you only just arrived in the country? Difficult.)

    15. Dragonfy7*

      My employer had a limited number of portable devices (laptops, tablets) but most are old, need frequent reimaging, or weren’t capable of handling the work we needed to do. After going through 3 laptops in 6 months, I gave up and hauled my 6+ year old desktop home. It’s slow, but it is working, and I am fortunate I had space/furniture I could rearrange to accommodate it. I didn’t have the funds to buy a new device.

  11. LDN Layabout*

    I work in the public sector, in the UK, and even before the pandemic there was more flexibility about working from home (primarily if you were office based, that you would spend at least 50% of your time in the office).

    I wouldn’t leave over movement in either direction, what would make me start looking would be if either was handled poorly. e.g. Working in the office? Fine. Working in the office without being able to flex my hours to not commute at the worst time possible or being unable to work a few wfh days a month if needed? Not so fine.

  12. Siege*

    I don’t know that I’d quit, but I want my next move to be into local government and I’m most interested in a department that is totally remote. It’s a little harder to fulfill our mission at my current job remotely, though it works well for my role. The bigger issue is that my coworkers are, by and large, BIG personalities who make working with them miserable and I would be happier never, ever seeing four of my coworkers ever again. But it’s balanced by my upcoming healthcare needs and my current insurance situation – I probably won’t leave unless my perfect govt job hires me or I have needed heart surgery.

    1. Gov Drone*

      Just one personal anecdote, but I work for local government and none of us are allowed to WFH anymore, no exceptions. And I know that’s the case in some other systems as well.

      1. Siege*

        The department I referenced went fully WFH prior to the pandemic, and they advertise it as such. I see it’s unclear what I meant, but this one, at least, is totally remote, and I expect to find others as more jobs are posted in my field.

  13. Chairman of the Bored*

    Yes, absolutely.

    I worked from home before the Coronavirus, if my employer told me I had to go into an office now (or ever) I’d quit.

    Remote work is an ironclad requirement in my job searches, to the point that one of my first questions to recruiters is “is the job remote” and if the answer is no then I don’t pursue the opportunity any further no matter how good/lucrative/interesting it is.

    I have several friends who went to remote work as a result of the virus, and they also have no intention of ever going back to an office.

    Things already came to a head between my fiancee and their employer. Company said everybody has to go back to the office, fiancee said “either let me stay remote or fire me”, and then the company switched her to permanent work from home rather than lose her.

    1. Working Hypothesis*

      I’m in an industry that cannot work from home, and I knew that from the start, and I don’t mind. I admit the general idea of working from home is nice, but… I’m a massage therapist. I literally work hands-on-skin. I can and have worked from home before, but only by running my own private practice — which I might do again but I really don’t enjoy marketing and finance and all the other things besides doing great massage that I have to do when I run a private practice. So, for now, the frustrations of doing those extra areas of work outweigh the pleasure of working from my own home, and I stay in clinic work.

      My husband, however, started this pandemic feeling certain that he disliked having to work from home and wouldn’t take a job that required it unless he was desperate. After a year and a half of it, he has discovered that he LOVES working from home, and now has no intention of ever accepting a job that forbids it unless he’s desperate!! He’s fortunate in that his current employer already allowed freely flexible working patterns before the pandemic even began, and plans to continue that. They’ll rent somewhat smaller office space because they have learned that most of their people intend to stay remote, but there will be space for those who want to work from the office to do so. His immediate manager, his grandboss (the VPE) and the CEO of the company all work remotely themselves, from various cities that are not the one that we live in and that the company’s offices are located in.

      So he can, happily, stay put and continue working remotely as he wants to. But he’s firmly decided that he will never again willingly work at a place which does not permit working from home. He likes it too much now. :)

  14. Xavier Desmond*

    I wouldn’t quit my current job if it was permanent WFH but if I was job searching I would never go for jobs that were entirely remote. I would hate starting a new job and not being able to meet my new colleagues in person.

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      What I’ve experienced this year is that training is a lot more difficult when done remotely, so that’s another reason why I wouldn’t want a new job that was permanently remote.

      1. Gail*

        What we’ve started doing is going in to meet with new hires and do trainings. We also scheduled the trainings so they were concentrated so people only came in a few times. This of course is harder if people have fled the state to work in a cabin in the woods, but that hasn’t applied to my team.

        1. EleanorsMom*

          The issue with that is convincing a company to hold onto office space to accommodate in-person meetings and trainings if it will be unused the majority of the time. I supposed a co-working space might be possible, but I don’t think this aspect is something people are thinking about when they ask for 100% WFH.

    2. Bluesboy*

      100% agree. I started a new job in July 2019 (so pre-Covid) and my company has an office in my city, but my team are all based in another city.

      Honestly, it was so tough to not see them in person, bounce ideas off them over a coffee, get to know them etc. Training on the software we use here was tough, even when you think you’ve understood something, there’s always the exceptional case where in the office you can say “Jane, what do I do when it says X?”, instead of having to set up a call, share screen etc.

      For me, Covid actually improved this – where before I had very little contact, now we have a video call every morning to catch up. But still, I wouldn’t want to go through it again unless I had to, so I would avoid a new job with 100% WFH if I had other options. No problem with some WFH, but every day…naah. For me at least, it would be neither pleasant nor efficient.

    3. Clisby*

      I think that’s entirely understandable. I worked for years entirely remote, but that was after working almost 9 years onsite for the same company. When they hired me to work remotely, I already knew how the company operated; I knew a lot of the people I would be working with; I knew the legacy systems I was being hired to maintain (you can’t just go out on the street and pick up a programmer who’s experienced with IBM mainframes). I loved working remotely, but I do not think I would have loved coming on as a new employee and being entirely remote.

      1. New Job So Much Better*

        Agree with that. I had several years to train and meet folks in person, which makes WFH so much better.

    4. SCORMHacker*

      I started a new, permanent WFH job last fall and it was really surprising to me how difficult it was not seeing people and meeting people face to face. I’ve had to make a concentrated effort to talk to people and make sure I’m on camera on webex meetings just so they know who I am! To add to the fun, I’m a corporate trainer so am doing fully virtual training sessions with employees across the U.S. Virtual training is always a challenge, but can be overcome with some good class design(which is kinda hard to come by. reading your Powerpoint slides over Webex is not a good experience anywhere or anytime!:)).

    5. SongbirdT*

      Even when you’re fully remote, there’s often in-person orientation and / or training that would let you meet colleagues and get to know the office environment. Pandemic WFH is not “regular” WFH, and companies that have large remote workforces have established good processes for onboarding new employees that include in-person opportunities. So if that’s the only reason you wouldn’t want to be remote, consider not ruling it out entirety. It really isn’t that impersonal.

    6. TechWorker*

      +1, this is how I feel too. Even my introvert other half who loves wfh has said he wouldn’t want a fully remote job, I’m kinda surprised there are so many keen for it.

  15. lest003*

    I’ve worked from home for 4 years, even before the pandemic. Prior to that, I worked for companies for years where I’d literally be the only person in my team in my state or even country. I would go into the office, sit at my desk, talk to my coworkers on the phone, then go home. In the last 10 years and three companies, I’ve never worked in the same location as my manager, and most I haven’t even met most face to face…and if I did, it was maybe once. Been promoted many times and received five-star reviews at more than one company.

    So, in other words, if I was forced to go back into the office to sit down by myself in a cube and talk to the same people I always do but on a different phone, yes, I’d quit and find another remote job.

    1. Fabulous*

      This is my job now too. There is no one nearby that I interact with ever for my job, and I’ve never met my (new) manager. My previous manager I only met in person once – when she started she had our entire team gather (from across the US) so she could meet everyone face to face.

    2. Cera*

      I have done this too and I found it very depressing to go into an office filled with people where I work with no one. Surrounded by people…yet alone.

      My work announced that people who were previously remote may have to go back this fall, and did not provide any guidelines. I have very frustrated by it.

      1. Hunnybee*

        Yes, it is strange how lonesome the full offices can be. I generally felt very lonesome and awkward and unhappy in offices. I’m much more comfortable and productive working from home.

  16. Totalanon*

    If I had to go into the office M-F, I would absolutely look for a new job (though I wouldn’t quit without something else lined up). So far, my employer is doing a hybrid schedule, and that’s good enough for me, considering the rest of the job’s benefits.

    1. Shenandoah*

      This is where I’m at as well – a hybrid schedule + a job that’s already fine won’t push be to job search at this point in the game.

      That being said, I can see a point where that won’t be enough – I can see wanting to have a real choice in where I live, and wanting to be full time remote to accommodate that.

      1. farrisonhord*

        Also where I’m at. The current plan is that we’ll ease back into the office at 1 day/week in the fall and then summer of 2022 management will determine a more permanent assignment (hybrid, full-time WFH, full-time in the office). 1 day in the office is perfect for me, but if they start adding to that while knowing that my team has been more effective working from home and prefers to do so, then that says they’re doing it for the wrong reasons and I’d start looking.

  17. Philly Redhead*

    If I was reasonably certain I would be able to get another position soon, yes. In fact, I almost did leave a job over their work from home policy. When I was interviewing, they stressed their “flexible” schedule and stated that working from home once a week was allowed.

    It wasn’t until after I accepted the job and started working that I found out that “flexible” means you can either start at 8 am or 8:30 am, and working from home wasn’t allowed until you’d worked there for six months.

    1. JJ Bittenbinder*

      Wow, if your username didn’t specify a different city than I’m in, I’d assume that you worked for my FORMER manager. It wasn’t even a company policy; she just didn’t provide the flexibility she’d promised during my interviews (although I guess we could also choose to start at 9, but you were certainly going to be staying until 5:30 if you did).

      I wonder how her employees did during the pandemic. I have to assume she got everyone back to the office ASAP and, given the industry, could possibly categorize people as essential. (The industry is essential; her department is not).

      I left after 4 months.

    2. KaciHall*

      I switched jobs when my kid was a toddler because the owner promised flexibly. Instead, I got the same half hour variance AND got shoehorned into a shipping/ receiving position instead of the customer service/design I was hired for. I lasted two months.

    3. MandyDan*

      Similar. Part of the reason I took my current job was the offered flexibility to WFH “several days a week” if I wanted, but that has not really materialized. When the pandemic started the company-wide conversation about WFH became even worse to the point of making requirements that would disqualify most people. My boss has still kept the my department, my rules mentality but it’s hard to know how acceptable it really is. WFH here and there over the past year has made me realize that it’s almost necessary for my mental health and is one of the reasons why I’m considering leaving and would look for it in a new position (at least partial WFH).

    4. introverted af*

      Wow are you working at my job? A transplant from Philly?
      No matter what, these kind of places suck!

  18. MissGirl*

    A big part of the reason I left my old job was the ability to work from home as wanted. The old job had a more than one-hour commute on a train each way. I was worn out. Ironically, old job went remote during the pandemic and have announced they will stay that way for the teams it makes sense for. It took a freaking pandemic for them to realize their butts-in-the-seat at all costs was out of date. Not to mention their strict dress codes. Now if they’d only update their vacation policy, I might go back.

    1. Windchime*

      I was seriously considering leaving my job for the same reason. One hour train or bus ride each way and I was just over it We were allowed to WFH 2 days a week but that wasn’t enough. The silver lining to the pandemic was that our new CIO discovered that our very large (over 400 people) IT department was able to function extremely well from home, so now many departments have the option to be permanently WFH. They are creating some new space with lots of hotelling desks for people who want to come in occasionally, and those who want to come back full time can request a permanent desk.

      I hope this CIO stays forever.

  19. Boyz2Men*

    I’ve been actively job searching, in part, because my employer insists that we all return to the cube farm. We’ve been successfully working from home since covid started… and we don’t do any creative collaboration of any kind, nothing can’t be done remotely, so it’s all a power move on their part… but we’ve been told “we’re working on some sort of work from home policy, but nothing at this time.”

    That was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. My workload didn’t double or triple, it quadrupled earlier in the pandemic. And my review did nothing to acknowledge how much harder I had to work. Not even a thank you for your extra work and hussle. I’ve had it. If I get an offer, even if it’s for less pay, I’m turning in my resignation.

      1. Boop*

        Same, with the addition of our dept handling all the irate employee complaints over management decisions…because I love being yelled at an insulted for implementing decisions I didn’t make or agree with.

    1. CouldntPickAUsername*

      “we’re working on some sort of work from home policy, but nothing at this time.”
      in other words, get them back into the cubes, wait a month and maybe let them work from home for a couple days a month to look like the good guys then.

    2. Nicotena*

      To me this is the issue: my company systematically under-invested in the office environment (squishing in more and more sad little low-wall cubes, asking people to hot desk, putting in a big shared table for people (?)) so clearly they don’t think a pleasant office environment where people can concentrate is a value. But now that everybody’s at home they suddenly feel like the shared office space is soooo important for people who just sit on computers and phone calls all day anyway?? If the office wasn’t so terrible, I wouldn’t be so reluctant to return. I just took a new job – at a pay cut – for a company that is entirely WFH.

  20. C*

    I am not in a job that could ever be done fully from home (healthcare). However due to an accident and subsequent surgery this year I found myself at home for 4 months. The work I could do from home was limited, and as a whole I found myself to be extremely unproductive. The nature of my job is usually one were you are often on your feet, moving around the hospital, interacting with different people and reacting day to day to what happens on site. I found that when I was stuck at home I was very isolated since all my co-workers were at the hospital, I found that without the active atmosphere and people around me I could not focus at all. Now that I’m back at work in person full-time I am much happier. There were a lot of downsides and stresses to working in a hospital during a pandemic, but at the end of the day I would have fared a lot worse mental health wise working anywhere else. I am someone who needs the outside stimulus and pressure to be effective and feel purposeful. I would never take a job that required remote work.

    1. the cat's ass*

      Also in health care, and my specific job also does not lend itself to long-term WFH-I have to examine people, get xrays, etc, so while a subset of my patients can be safely managed with telehealth, most cannot. Interestingly, though, support staff is resigning in droves for other opportunities, including WFH and better-paying jobs. This job suits me and where I am in my career, but I totally respect the lovely bunch of younger associates heading out the door to greener pasture-maybe upper management will finally acknowledge that our pay scale isn’t up to the community standard, and now that the pandemic is winding down they’re going to have to get on board with more competitive $ and bennies.

    2. WS*

      Also in healthcare and my job can’t be done from home. However, what has helped me a lot as a chronically ill person is that suddenly all my appointments were telehealth – I no longer have to drive between 1 and 3 hours each way to see a specialist. I get the blood tests done at my convenience, then just dial in at the appropriate time. It’s amazing, I haven’t had to take a single day off for appointments since COVID-19 started, except half a day when I had to have an MRI and half a day for a medication infusion. Usually it’s a full day at least once a month.

  21. HR Madness*

    This would not be a huge factor for me. I have been 100% remote, hybrid and 100% in office. They all have their ups and downs, but my preference is general flexibility. So if 100% in office means I can still work remotely if my kids are sick, I am under the weather or need to wait for the electrician, perfect!

    If I had an employer that was super rigid, that might be a factor. But I haven’t encountered that yet, even the ones who had a large preference towards in office – were flexible in emergency situations.

    I don’t actually like working remotely 100% of the time, so I guess I would generally stay away from those jobs – but even that wouldn’t be a complete deal-breaker, if I liked the opportunity and the work was interesting.

    1. Mimi*

      Yeah, I expect that I’ll settle into going into the office most-or-all of the time (eventually), but I do really like the convenience of being able to work from home *sometimes,* and I would be pretty grumpy if I was told that I need to be at my office desk all the time, with no flexibility for plumbers/dog care/bad weather/not feeling 100% (especially since my boss had a hybrid schedule pre-pandemic, and our work can almost entirely be done from home). I don’t think that I would quit over it specifically, but it would make me less happy with the job overall, and it would make me feel like the employer was somewhat unreasonable, so it would probably contribute to me having a shorter tenure at a company.

      1. Mimi*

        I wouldn’t quit on the spot if my job turned 100% remote, but I have been looking forward to at some point going back to the office and having in-person interactions with colleagues, so being 100% remote would probably also contribute to me staying for less time, unless I felt like the employer was doing a REALLY good job of otherwise facilitating connections with colleagues, and if I didn’t feel too isolated. (I have definitely felt isolated this past year, but it’s possible that in-person social events would be enough to keep me happy even with remote work. Hard to say.)

    2. Spearmint*

      Same here. Flexibility and work-life balance matter far more to me. I have a slight preference for hybrid or WFH, all else equal, but all else is rarely equal. I would take a fully in-person job where I could leave work right at 5pm and not think about until the next day over the kind of WFH job where I was routinely expected to answer texts and check email in the evenings.

    3. Alexa*

      This is exactly how I feel. I enjoy coming into the office, but I really appreciate the flexibility to work from home when something comes up or some child is sick.

    4. ArtsNerd*

      This is where I am. A mix of remote and in-person is ideal for me, but full remote is only a dealbreaker to me if it’s a culture where I’d go a full week or more without seeing any colleague’s faces in real time.

  22. H. Regalis*

    I would consider quitting if I had to work from home. I like having the flexibility to do so when I would like to, but I have a small apartment and I do not want to be forced to. Most of my coworker have large houses in the middle of nowhere. My boss hinted that I should rent a larger apartment so I can WFH because our organization wants to sell the office building they own. So now I’m expected to pay for my own work space for the job I do for? I deeply dislike the idea of even more business expenses being shifted from the employer to the workers.

    1. A room of one's own*

      Same here–I would need a substantial pay raise and/or ironclad assurance that 100% remote work will be permitted long-term to entertain the possibility. Housing in my area is expensive. I don’t want to eat into my wages to subsidize a workspace, and I’d be hesitant to move out of commuting distance if remote work could be revoked. I would like the ability to work from my living room every once in a while, but not as an all-the-time requirement.

    2. TWW*

      I’m in the same boat. I couldn’t rent a larger apartment even if I wanted to; most landlords here require your income be 3x rent, so I simply wouldn’t qualify.

    3. LQ*

      Agreed. I would be looking for another job if I were told I could not come into work. A day here or there isn’t too bad. But I’ve had to give up my beloved studio space when I had to quarantine at home for a month and I’ve had enough little moments where I haven’t shifted it back to being not work space and it stinks. I have a studio apartment and it’s not big enough for me to not see my work set up everywhere I go so work just haunts me at home. I’d have to buy home or rent an absurdly larger than I want space to make it work.

      Folks on my team who have done well all are lucky enough to have large homes with rooms that they can close the door on. People who struggle are in shared spaces either with other people or other parts of their lives.

      The big boss here rented a smaller space and I’ve been livid about it and trying to make a very strong case that we shouldn’t just do hot-desking and barely enough space for folks with tiny cubes and fewer offices. It’s not enough space right now for the folks who WANT to be in the office which is just a way to pretend to be a good culture while demanding the exclusive use of a footprint in people’s homes. At least we’ve been able to keep the BYO devices culture at bay here.

    4. Spearmint*

      To be fair, what you pay for extra space may be counterbalanced by not having the financial cost of a commute.

      1. LQ*

        I have a 5 minute walk to work. I LIKE my commute. Having to rent a 2 bedroom or 1br/den apartment would double my rent at least. 10 minutes of my life that is a nice stroll is not worth that. Just because it works for you doesn’t mean it has to work for everyone.

      2. H. Regalis*

        That’s not a choice I want my employer making for me regardless of whether that is true is my individual situation. And that’s different from a job where I knew from the jump that it would be remote. Starting somewhere and then being told, “Rearrange your entire life for us so we can save money” sucks. There are a lot of other, non-work reasons I live where I do vs. a hundred miles away.

      3. TWW*

        For me, an apartment with one more bedroom would cost an additional $600/month, which is way more than it costs to drive to work every day.

      4. Lynn Whitehat*

        I pay $46/month for a bus pass. And I may be unique on earth in this, but I actually enjoy riding the bus.

        1. F.M.*

          My commute was a pleasant walk with the option of bus or light rail when the weather was bad or I just didn’t feel like the walk, and I like all three of those options; I get reading done on the bus or light rail, I enjoy the mild physical experience of Going Somewhere By Foot in a way I don’t enjoy exercising for the sake of exercise. My mental health suffered enormously when our offices closed, and improved noticeably when we were allowed to come in as we wanted once again.

          The only thing that would make working from the office better would be if my coworkers were there too, for casual social interaction.

          And, because I know what commenters here are like… Yes, I’m talking about the coworkers who WANT to be there, and WANT to interact with other people casually now and again in person, and who have actively said so. My office always allowed WFH for people who wanted it, with very occasional on-site requirements aside, and some people always took full advantage of that. Those of us who didn’t? We went into the office for a reason, thanks, and we’re looking forward to having it back.

          …all that said, I would not reject a permanent WFH position after this one for that reason alone. If I knew going in that it would be that, I could arrange my housing/transport/social setup accordingly. It’d be suboptimal, but still better than ending up working somewhere that I had to drive to–I would need to get a car!–or with hotdesking open workspaces or some horror like that. My current position is exactly as flexible as I like it, and I’ve got my living location set up to take advantage of that.

      5. EchoGirl*

        It may be true in some cases, but that seems pretty unlikely to be something that’s widespread — at the very least, it’s going to depend on a lot of factors, like what the person’s commute cost actually is and the COL where they live (assuming many people won’t want to just pick up and move to a completely new area just to save on COL; people generally choose the places they live for more reasons than just work). Plus, the added cost of moving is not just about the increase in rent, but also the added costs of heat/AC for a larger space and so on; once you factor those in, it’s potentially a bigger increase in monthly costs than it initially looks like.

        1. Fran Fine*

          All of this. Bigger spaces usually mean bigger expenses – unless an employer is offering to raise an employee’s salary to cover those new costs, then I could see this being a nonstarter.

          1. EchoGirl*

            I think it’s also worth noting that a certain amount of “commuting” expenses would probably continue to exist even if the person started working from home. For example, most people who drive to work would probably keep their cars even if they stopped needing to commute, so they’d still be paying insurance and potentially parking and/or car payments — the only costs that would change are gas and wear and tear, which probably doesn’t cover the cost of a bigger place.

    5. Liseusester*

      Same here. I actually do have a ‘spare’ room in my house but I bought a house with one so I could use it as a craft room/guest room. I am mostly back in the office now and back to doing craft projects after not having really done for a year and a bit. I deeply resented giving up space in my house for work (I did it! I’m not evil!) and was so glad to be able to get back to the office. I also learned that whilst I can get work done from home, I’m not staggeringly good at it and I was starting to wonder if I was even cut out for the job I’d been successfully doing for three years.

    6. Joielle*

      Yeah, my spouse and I bought a whole new house to have space for both of us to comfortably WFH long term. We did it for a year in our previous (much smaller) house and it was miserable being in each other’s space all the time, overhearing everything, having to tiptoe around when the other was in a meeting, etc.

      To me, it was worth it and I’m happy with the decision, but it was VERY expensive (especially since we wanted to stay in the same neighborhood) and we were lucky to be in a position to do it. Certainly should not be required or even suggested that someone else should do the same!

    7. Cricket*

      My partner and I moved into a larger apartment during covid for this reason. In our old apartment, I literally had to work from my bed when she was on video calls. Our new place is awesome but we are paying more money to essentially rent our own office space.

    8. Lizzy May*

      This is my big issue. I have a little living space and I hate feeling confined in it all day and all evening. I go for walks but its not the same. I don’t mind a day here or there that’s WFH but I cannot make it my life where I live now and I own my condo so I’m not selling and buying something wildly more expensive to get more room. I can’t afford it.

    9. Lynn Whitehat*

      Same. There just isn’t space in my house for me to have a good WFH setup. I’ve been limping along with a sub-par setup for over a year (wedged in a corner of my bedroom). I’m sick to death of it. I’m not going to uproot my whole family so I can have a home office, when I might not even need one in six months.

      I guess I could try a WeWork kind of thing, now that the pandemic is receding in the US. I’d be pretty unhappy about having to take that on, though.

    10. Melanie*

      ” I deeply dislike the idea of even more business expenses being shifted from the employer to the workers.”
      100% agree.

      I also hate the narrative that employers who don’t embrace work from home are behind-the time, or out of touch. Some jobs just don’t work when everyone is in their own space! At my job, we’ve always had flexibility to request to work from home for a day, or part of a day, for any number of different reasons, so i don’t think lack of flexibility is an argument against requiring in-office work in our case. I work in a field that is demanding, and high-turnover. We’re constantly hiring entry level people who need training, and training remotely is just not as good. And it’s not as simple as bringing them to the office for two weeks of training at the beginning. On the job training happens constantly for the first 3-4 years (or more realistically, forever) through team collaboration, listening to colleagues and supervisors talk to client and talk through problems with other staff. You lose all of that learning when everyone is working from home.

      On a personal level, I hate working from home. I need clear separation between work space and home space, and work time and leisure time. I don’t want the lines to be blurred. I would quit my job if it was 100% remote (I said so frequently throughout the pandemic). Not immediately, but I’d work my way out eventually.

      Part of me also wonders if WFH is going to be like the open concept office fad. It was all the rage for several years, seemed young and collaborative and open and anti-hierarchical–and then finally everyone realized it was awful because there was no privacy, noise traveled, hard to concentrate, etc. and now the pendulum is swinging the other way (at least from where I sit).

      1. Juniper*

        Exactly. The “average” office job can look wildly different from industry to industry and company to company. Blanket statements about what should be practicable for all employers going forward are myopic at best.

    11. Faith the twilight slayer*

      Awesome! They expect you to find a bigger, more expensive home, so that obviously means they intend to give you a substantial raise to do so. Way to work the system, friend!

      /s, obviously

    12. WFH FTW*

      I deeply dislike the idea of even more business expenses being shifted from the employer to the workers.

      I love WFH, but totally agree with you on this point.

  23. Tinky Winky*

    Probably – I’m looking to leave for other reasons and am mainly applying for fully remote jobs. Our team leader is old fashioned but I’m hoping they’ll follow new rules that say we can WFH if we reach an agreement with our team members

  24. elle*

    If I was asked to go to the office 5 days a week, I would seek a different role within my same company. The commute is 50 miles each way and I have a second job to balance. If I were told there would no longer be an office to return to, I would probably seek out some kind of co-working space. I need to leave my house at least one or two days a week for my mental health.

    1. Museumfreak*

      Same, I definitely need to leave my house sometimes. I do like seeing my coworkers, and I don’t see most of them every day like I used to. But the WFH flexibility has been so great. I would like to go over to the office for some meetings or even get together with coworkers who live close by if we need to work on something together in person.

  25. Susie Q*

    Absolutely. My company initially said everyone back in office 100%. And people have been quitting left and right. HR/Managers have now been asking what our ideal work set up will be.

  26. KareBear*

    My husband got an amazing job in another area and since I was remote over COVID we moved. My company has been saying they will be ‘flexible’ when we go back but it’s now clear this means a few days a week in the office. If I can’t negotiate mostly remote I’ll definitely be looking for a new job! Which is a shame, because I actually really like this job but there is just no way we are moving back to that city. In fact, I love remote so much my job search will only include fully remote options now!

  27. Paranoid about COVID*

    At my previous dysfunctional company, I had a whole escape plan for when they made us go back full time. I already didn’t like working there, and I was pretty financially stable at the time, so it seemed like a no-brainer to protect my health and the principle that I never want an employer to control me (truly the only reason they were making us go in).

    Fortunately, I found a different, fully remote job before I had to!

  28. Mockingdragon*

    My situation is a little different, but yes, absolutely. I began freelancing because I believed I couldn’t ever work in an office job again. I’m non-neurotypical although with no official diagnosis, and the only times I’ve ever been disciplined at work were because of meltdowns and other manifestations of my anxiety and mood disorders.

    However, I’ve been able to work part-time from home during the pandemic and what I’ve discovered is that working at home is a legitimate medical accommodation for me, and I intend to treat it as such if I ever go back to full-time work (or part-time office work, although that doesn’t seem to exist). Working from home, I can mute and turn off the camera or just duck over to the side if I need to scream for a second or make faces to get the emotions out. Nobody has to see me freaking out, when all I need is five minutes of chaos to calm down and get back to work. Not having to hide my symptoms makes them infinitely easier to manage.

    1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      YES! I am also neurodivergent and the lack of forced masking has been SO good for my mental health. Both in how I process it and how people perceive me at work.

      1. Justin*

        Yeah, same for me. I could do it if it were part of the time/flexible, but having to be OfficeManWhoMakesChitChat all the time just makes me come off cold and distant (or overly friendly if I’m trying to push against these parts of me). Again, can do it part of the time, but all day everyday is just a real challenge.

  29. Murfle*

    My employer just announced this week that our company’s plan is to do a hybrid model (3 days in office, 2 WFH) and to start transitioning back to the office in mid-September.

    Before the plan was announced, I thought I was ok with the idea of returning to work. But now that I actually have a date, I’m low-key panicking. My commute over public transit is about 1.5 hours long. That means 3 hours per day. Which, means 9 hours per week of being trapped on trains with tons of people – and spending hundreds of dollars for the privilege of doing so.

    On top of that, a friend of mine who works at a healthcare-adjacent company raised the really good point that mid-September isn’t enough time to see how schools affect community transmission rates. If we wanted to be safe about it, we’d wait until October to see what the effect of schools reopening is.

    My employer has promised to be flexible, and has said that efforts have been made to change floorplans at work, offer rapid testing, and improve workplace ventilation. All very good things! But this news is filling me with a lot more anxiety than I expected.

    1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      Same. I wanted to go back to the office until we started to discuss it seriously – and now I’m really feeling nervous. I have really gotten used to having those 3 hours of commute time back in my day. I’m in better shape than I have been in years, because I have that time to exercise. I eat dinner before 9:30 at night and get more sleep. I don’t pay hundreds of bucks a month for dry cleaning and shoe repair and rental clothing subscriptions. I know what’s going on with my kids. I’ve finally met some of the elderly neighbors who’ve been in my building for years.

      I know I can do the 10-hour-day, 3-hour-commute, out-the-door-at-seven, pick-the-kids-up-at-eight, never-see-the-sun-all-winter grind, because I did it for years. But I feel low grade panic about it.

      1. Cake, yes please*

        I feel low grade panic just reading about your work-from-office schedule. Not having to do that everyday would be a serious quality of life improvement that I don’t know if I could give up. I’d sacrifice a LOT to never have to do that again.

    2. anon e mouse*

      I didn’t even talk about this below, but yeah. Sometimes I get so worked up about how badly they’ve done rolling out the new wfh policy that I forget that I was almost ready to find another job before the pandemic even started because my commute was too soul crushing to do every single day. And I didn’t have a kid yet back then!

  30. mal.abrigo*

    My husband and I are moving because I got a new job (mine is partly WFH, 2.5 days in office and 2.5 days out of the office, which is my preference). His very small firm was formerly in-person full-time, but during the pandemic went fully remote and is planning to stay that way. He’s definitely paid under market at his current place, but plans to stay with them for at least another couple of years, precisely because they’re fully remote. He loves working from home and never wants to go back unless he can find a commute under 15 minutes. Once he does move on from this place, he says that those will be his search parameters.

  31. The Crowening*

    I would absolutely consider leaving if I didn’t like having the option to work from home at least some of the time.

    Prior the start of COVID, my manager was not in favor of employees working from home, even though we are all desk jockeys who just need an internet connection. We were only permitted to work from home if we were sick or home with a sick kid, vet appointment, home repair person coming over, etc. – in other words, if the company’s options were to lose us for the day or just lose us for a few hours, we could work from home. Once COVID hit, the decision was corporate and it didn’t matter what my manager thought, everyone went home who could work from home. I have wondered all along whether my manager’s attitude would change at all after this – has it been a successful experiment or will he be more determined than ever to make sure no one gets any extra flexibility?

    In the end, it doesn’t matter, because three months ago I started a new job that is permanent remote. :) Although honestly, I doubt the company would have been willing to hire me if they hadn’t seen teams of fully remote workers doing great work for the past year already. So I guess in that sense, hopefully it has opened a few minds among employers out there.

    1. The Crowening*

      Meant to say, I would absolutely consider leaving if I didn’t have the option to work from home at least some of the time from now on. (I don’t know how I messed up that first sentence!) Employees shouldn’t have to grovel or fight for flexibility if they’ve already proven they can get it done at home.

  32. theothermadeline*

    I now know I should never interview for a remote-only position (that doesn’t involve regular travel and interaction with people). I am currently still not allowed back into my on-campus office even though we have already rolled out a vaccine mandate, and it is driving me up a wall. I’ve always been a huge proponent of office flexibility – work from home or work from the office as needed. I’ve greatly benefitted from being able to work from home whenever I want to (and privileged that most of my previous jobs have allowed that) but it is not how I operate best and I would likely need to quit before I got fired if an office I worked at went fully remote with no other options.

    1. Archie Goodwin*

      This is me, very much.

      I appreciate the flexibility of working from home, and as far as I’m concerned, the more places that offer it, the merrier. I love having the option once in a while. But I don’t work well from home…at all. I’m finally back in the office full-time, and I feel so much better about it. Work feels like WORK again, and not just an extension of my home life.

      A previous job announced that it was moving from a building with assigned cubes to one which was entirely, 100% hotel space-based, and that was a major catalyst for my choosing to leave. (Not the only thing, but a big one among several.) I could see that the office culture was transitioning into something closer to full-time work from home, and that really wasn’t something I wanted to get involved with.

      1. A*

        My employer is piloting a similar plan, and of course HR is the guinea pigs. I’m one of the very few that wants to go back in the office most days (currently going in 1x week) and does not want a hotel desk. While I want the flexibility to work from home if I need to, it will never be a regular thing for me.

  33. Darth Brooks*

    Yes, I would. I work for the government and there are a lot of positions for my classification in a lot of different departments that are going remote, so if mine wasn’t, I would definitely look for one that did. In fact, remote work played a role in my choice between two job offers I recently received–I chose the one with more remote options.

    It’s also relevant that these government jobs are relatively easy to transfer in and out of, so it’s an easier decision to make for me than for someone in the private sector who might have a harder time finding similar positions.

  34. no one*

    I wouldn’t quit over WFH status in itself; I personally could be happy with either, and I think both have pros and cons. In the office, I legitimately enjoy talking and collaborating with my coworkers, and i find that easier to do in person. But I also have a much better work/life balance working from home.

    With that said, the past year+ of remote work has made me realize that I don’t need to be living in my high cost of living area, and I’d like to move. If my company turned down my request for remote work after I’ve been successfully working from home for over a year, just because they want me back in the office, I probably would quit.

    If/when I move on to a new job I’d be open to either in-office or remote positions.

    1. Windchime*

      As soon as my workplace said we would be 100% WFH, I moved two hours away. The cost of living is lower, there is no traffic and the weather is so much better. If they changed their tune and said we had to go back in, I would just retire since I’m about that age anyway.

  35. Aerie*

    I am one of the people that have actually followed through in quitting when my employer wouldn’t give me the flexibility I wanted. I work in a fairly specialized role, in a division of my company that saw some record-breaking profits in the last year. I felt I had a pretty strong case to advocate that remote work should be the norm for me, with only very occasional trips to the office (once a month was what I offered). My boss didn’t disagree, but ultimately said the decision was going to be made higher up than her, and I should just wait it out 4-5 months to see what corporate’s official ruling on WFH would be.

    I was already casually job searching due to really bad work-life balance issues, but probably would have stuck it out for another year or two if they just could have guaranteed me some flexibility rather than asking me to keep my life on hold for another 4 months. Instead, I found a new company that while they didn’t have their final WFH plan in place when I was hired, my hiring manager went to the CEO and got special permission for my new role to be 100% remote.

  36. Thursday Next*

    For me it’s a “make” more than a “break” – I’ve been working outside my home state for a few years now and sort of figured that in order to eventually move home I’d have to find a new job. But my company updated its WFH policies in light of the Covid-induced Great WFH Experiment (which worked out really well in general for my department), and now they’re saying we can go wherever we want and just be virtual workers. Since I can move home and keep my job, I’m pretty much planning to stay here forever. (For a company that’s a bit clueless about 21st century business practices and employee retention, they knocked it out of the park on this one.)

  37. luvtheshoes*

    Luckily, my employer (after some arm turning) adopted an official work from home policy that is surprisingly permissive given the commentary from leadership during COVID. Had they insisted I return full time, I would have upped my job search which was already underway for other reasons.

    Along those lines, I definitely don’t consider positions that don’t have at least a hybrid option. I am in legal and there is zero reason for me to be in the office 5 days a week. To me, an expectation of full in-office work force speaks not only to remote work but deeper assumptions about the corporate culture and truly how modern and collaborative the company is/is not.

  38. lillace*

    I am currently interviewing for a new role that’s 100% remote because my current job is forcing everyone to come back to the office at least part time. It’s pretty frustrating because (at least on my team) we have been more productive from home than we ever have been in the office, which can be backed up with actual numbers. But the word seems to be that some of the older executives just don’t like people working from home because….they just don’t like it? It feels very much like a high school attendance policy with no rhyme or reason behind it, and even though I’ve been there for many years and proven myself to be responsible and capable, they don’t trust me enough to let me work from home.

    It’s especially frustrating since I have heard from other folks in our office that they ARE being given exceptions and being allowed to work from home full time or have a more flexible schedule. But the word for me is just, no, you’re in the office on these days from this time to this time. Even when I’ve asked if there is a concern about my performance or anything like that, I’m told there isn’t and that I just have to be there. They won’t address why some people are being given exceptions and some aren’t, so it very much looks like they’re arbitrarily deciding who gets to WFH full time or have a more flexible schedule. That is really frustrating.

    It’s a bummer because I have otherwise enjoyed working for this company quite a bit. But with the kind of job I do, it’s easy to find 100% remote work that will pay me just as well, so I am at least lucky there.

    1. Newly Hired*

      This sounds like my company. People with kids are getting to stay home and some others are receiving exceptions, but I have to be in Tuesday and Thursdays no questions asked. It’s frustrating.

      1. ToddlerMom*

        I agree with you that this is a ridiculous policy, but “getting to stay home”? What are parents supposed to do with our kids right now? My daycare is open 8-4 so I could commute in and work from 9:30-3 and finish the day between 8 and midnight, I guess?

  39. Skates*

    I’m a college professor, and have been on campus teaching in-person hybrid classes the whole pandemic. The thing that would make me leave is if we were forced to continue hybrid instruction in our classes. I am happy to teach some online classes every semester in the name of accessibility, but trying to teach to students in the room and online simultaneously is a model that I don’t think serves either group and makes me a less effective teacher overall.

    1. Skates*

      An addendum: my field is so tight right now that leaving a good job would likely mean leaving the field altogether, and I would rather that than keep hybrid teaching indefinitely

    2. Pippa K*

      Seconding this! In-person teaching (when there’s no pandemic!) works great, online teaching *can* work well, but combining the two modes in a single class where some students are online and some in person is just a workload-doubling nightmare. Of all the adaptations we tried out over the past year, this has to be the flaming worst.

      1. Captain Raymond Holt*

        Part time faculty here – it is absolutely a flaming mistake. My institution called it “High-Flex.” They said it stood for “Highly Flexible” but I think it’s because someone sent out an all-faculty email that said “High-Flex” instead of “Hy-flex” (hybrid flexible). So they’re covering their rear for that typo.
        I taught from home. I was required to have a classroom assignment in case some students wanted to attend remotely. So I did. I had a student show up to an empty classroom every week in case a student wanted to attend in the classroom. Zero students did, but the classroom assistant showed up every week.
        She was taking the same class with another instructor and used my class to actually learn the material (little shade on her instructor).

    3. Another Teacher*

      I haven’t left yet, but it was incredibly noticeable that about 15-20% of my school’s faculty departed at the end of the year, and most weren’t leaving for another school, they were just leaving. We got some “stay home with family” etc, but mostly it was just people fleeing education. I’m not sure if that was our in-person policy (we were in-person all year) or that people were so upset with how they’d been treated this year, but our usual retirement luncheon was very awkward.

    4. Agatha Christie Reader*

      I am also a college professor, an introvert, and very good with technology. However, I’ve been teaching online since the pandemic started and I hate it! My students in the course evaluations say that I am better than most at teaching online but I wouldn’t keep doing it. If we were forced to continue WFH and teaching online, I would retire rather than continuing. I just don’t make the connections with students or get the joy from my job that I get in face-to-face classrooms. I also miss the ideas that spring from casual conversations with fellow faculty. I’m old enough that retirement is a viable option.

    5. Flower necklace*

      I teach high school and I agree 100% about hybrid. I wouldn’t leave teaching completely over it, but if it was just my district insisting on hybrid, I’d be tempted to try switching (not that that would ever happen because the school board knows perfectly well they would lose tons of teachers that way).

      Thankfully, we’ve been told that hybrid was an emergency response only, and that anyone who has to teach hybrid next year will receive extra pay.

      1. Bart*

        I am a dean at a residential liberal arts college and I can’t wait to get back on campus full-time in August! Zoom meetings are not the same as in person meetings on a vibrant college campus. I miss the informal interactions with staff, students, and faculty and the feeling of community.

    6. Cascadia*

      Yes to this! I work with middle and high school students and hybrid teaching has been awful. We’ve lost a record number of teachers this year at our school due to early retirement, people leaving for other schools, or just leaving education all together. Our school finally came out and said vaccines will be required for all students and employees, and we will all be back in person in the fall, with no option for remote or hybrid. Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief because hybrid teaching has been so awful. We were worried for a while after hearing lots of “hybrid teaching is the way of the future!” comments early on in the pandemic. All in-person, or all online, but none of the hybrid business. It just doesn’t work, it’s exhausting, ineffective, and just plain sucks. If our school didn’t announce the plan to go back to full-time in-person, I’m certain we would have lost a lot more teachers.

    7. Fabulous*

      I have many teacher friends and have heard the same thing from them. You’re not alone!

    8. Tessera Member 042*

      I just got a full-time faculty position at a community college due to the retirements others have mentioned, and I continue to be flummoxed that of all the changes in instruction the pandemic has wrought, the “hybrid” (some students in class and some students online simultaneously) model is the one administration seems to want to keep! I agree with you all that you can’t plan for effective in-person and online instruction at the same time. I actually really like the “blended” model, where some sessions a week are conducted in person and some are conducted online, but for everyone – and that’s because I’m an English prof and I find most students just really benefit from more time to write.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        I think your blended model would be great! That would have been great for me for grad school.

        Teaching both in-class and online populations at once makes me cringe. It seems to be based on the false assumption that they use the same tools and techniques, and they don’t. I assume that any administration pushing this has no clue.

      2. Flower necklace*

        That’s just awful. Of all the things to keep! My district is keeping a lot of the tech tools that we purchased and I doubt we’ll go back to paper anytime soon, but hybrid is definitely out next year. I haven’t heard any good things about it.

  40. Web Crawler*

    I would definitely quit if my office required me to come in more than once every few months. But for the record, I was working exclusively from home before covid- I’m a programmer and the florescent lights in the office give me migraines, and having to “mask” as neurotypical for 8 hours a day leaves me too exhausted to get much work done.

    Likewise, I’d make it a key factor in my job search once I’m ready to leave. I’d also look for a company like my current one where a majority of the programmers are remote so I’m not left out of things.

  41. Nessa*

    I’d seriously consider it if we were told to come back full time – currently we’re considering a mix of in-person and WFH which suits me very well, as I do miss my colleagues and my work will end up needing some face-time, but I’ve also been so much more productive working from home and really appreciate the flexibility.

    As a professional services staff member at a university, I’ve noticed that there’s 100% room for that sort of flexibility in our team. The main push for returning full time seems to be not from students but from academics who think we’re there to help them use the printer!

  42. Enginerd*

    Returning to the office would only be a big ordeal if they decided to go rigid with the hours and remove the option of working from home as needed, which luckily my company would never do due to the nature of our work and the travel requirements involved. If they forced us to be in the office 9-5 M-F, I’d be looking to move on but flex time and location do wonders for mental health and work life balance.

  43. Arya Parya*

    My employer is starting to bring people back to the office. They’re doing it slowly, so that’s all good. But the way they’ve communicated about it, it looks like they want everyone back in the office full time eventually. My employer has been very much against WFH in the past. I hoped that had changed, because everything has run smoothly, but alas.

    I would really like a hybrid version, about 50/50 office and WFH with some flexibility to change those percentages when needed. I’ve discussed this with some colleagues and my manager and they all want the same thing, so we are going to try to push back as a group.

    As for the future I would really like to keep doing at least some of my job from home. I really liked the past 1,5 years. It’s been very good for my mental health. So I will definitely look for that. I will also never want to work in an open office plan ever again. After this period of peace and quiet I just cannot see myself returning to that.

  44. The Crowening*

    Meant to say, I would consider leaving if I *didn’t have the option* to work from home at least sometimes from now on. (I don’t know how I messed up that first sentence!) Employees shouldn’t have to grovel or fight for flexibility if they’ve already proven they can get it done at home.

  45. Brad*

    My small office had essentially no remote work prior to the pandemic, but we went to everyone 100% remote during COVID and proved that we could still be just as effective. In discussions about the future of the office during the pandemic, a combination of remote and in-office was held out as likely. Now they’re making noise about a return to the office next month, and it’s unclear if the WFH portion is still in play. If they require 100% back in the office, I will be looking for a new job—I was spending 24 days of each year in a commute, and I’m not interested in returning to that.

  46. Tired of WFH*

    My company hasn’t given a reopening date, but I feel like I would quit if not enough of my coworkers were coming into the office. I don’t begrudge their preferences, of course, it’s just that after working from home full-time, alone, for 15 months, I need more in-person interaction with coworkers than this. A lot of my team is in the “don’t ever want to work in an office again” camp, and if enough of them feel that way, I respect it but I would look for a job with a hybrid plan.

    1. Ace in the Hole*

      I’m of a similar mindset. Currently I work in a role/field that has to be done mostly in person, which is lucky because I really need in-person interaction at work. Like you said, I respect the preferences of people who want to stay remote… but there is a mutual incompatibility in accommodating people who want/need significant amounts of remote work and accommodating people who want/need face to face interaction.

  47. Ace in the Hole*

    I will not work from home full time. If a job forced me to do it I would quit. I find it it demoralizing, isolating, and terrible for both my work performance and my mental health. I really need the structure and camaraderie of working in a physical space with other people.

    Fortunately I’m in a field where remote work is almost impossible.

    1. Lurker*

      I agree with this 100%. I would add to your list that working from home makes it easier for the erosion of work/life boundaries.

    2. SilverNickel*

      I would also leave my position if I was forced to WFH indefinitely. I hate the isolation, and that my living space is now a space where my work intrudes. I feel like I have no respite from work. I’m glad to be going back.

  48. loose leaf tea drinker*

    I would definitely quit if I couldn’t stay remote.

    My office remained in-person throughout the pandemic, but I and several others worked from home either full time or part time due to personal/family circumstances.

    The difference in my quality of life is astounding. I have a whole host of health issues that are manageable and invisible (and sometimes entirely negated!) when I work from home, but range on a scale from annoying to debilitating when I work full-time from the office. These aren’t health issues that I want to disclose to my colleagues, so I just put up with the stress pre-pandemic.

    Fortunately my boss loves me and I do great work, so she’s agreed to retain me remotely indefinitely – and gave me a raise! But since that didn’t become official until a few weeks ago, I’ve spent most of the last six months a little bit on edge and ready to quit if that announcement ever came through. It’s a big relief that I won’t ever have to go back to the office full-time, though I can choose to if I ever want to for meetings and the like.

    1. Cheesecake2.0*

      Can I ask how you opened up the discussion about how your health has been impacted (or did you need to at all? It’s not clear from your comment) I am in a similar position where I have many medical concerns, many of which are invisible, and pretty much all of them are way more manageable working from home. So far my boss has said she’s asking about potential hybrid schedules for me but she thinks it’s just because I’m a hermit who is introverted and quiet. I don’t know how to say “actually it’s because I have complex kidney and bowel issues and the bathroom situation at work really sucks for me and my mental health has been better than ever and I am so sick of people asking me “what’s wrong with your legs” when they see my leg braces everyday so I’d like to just work from home, forever, please”

      1. Never Boring*

        Yeah, pandemic WFH has been awesome in that I have been recovering from a medical issue that leaves me needing to lie down in a dark room for a while at lunchtime and walk away from the computer now and again. I am now in the process of requesting an accommodation, and my doctor was totally willing to write me a letter saying that he recommended 100% WFH. I am totally stir-crazy from spending so much time at home, so I am going to try hybrid and see how it goes. (My employer has indicated that they are amenable to an arrangement that will allow me use of a quiet room in the office for breaks. I don’t know how well it will work – I am not convinced that I will be able to actually get rest on breaks if people can walk in anytime. Plus the quiet room is far from my office and needs to be used by other people, too, which I predict will cause availability issues – I am planning a backup involving bringing infrastructure to be able to take quiet breaks in my own office. Lawn chair, curtain with tension rod, etc. I don’t care if people think I’m weird; it’s a genuine medical issue, so they can go to hell). If it doesn’t work, my doc will happily write another letter. Fingers crossed.

  49. The Crowening*

    Meant to say I would think about leaving if I *didn’t at least have the option* to work from home sometimes from now on. (I don’t know how I messed up that first sentence!) Employees shouldn’t have to grovel or fight for flexibility if they’ve already proven they can get it done at home.

  50. RebeccaKnowsNothing*

    I love working from home so much! I’m noticably healthier in so many ways – it works for my working style, it works for my personality, it works for my gotdang job duties! I’d definitely start looking for remote-only jobs if my office decides everyone needs to be back full time. (That being said, I’m very much in favor of hybrid approaches so everyone gets a choice in what works best for them.)

    1. Allison*

      These are my thoughts on WFH exactly. I would totally quit if we were forced to go back full time, but I realize some people prefer being in the office.

  51. KellyLo*

    Thanks for bringing this topic up for discussion. While I’m concerned about the optics and getting left behind when my company shifts to a hybrid / return to the office stance beginning next year, this is a deal-breaker for me. I want to be full-time remote with only very occasional meetings in person where needed. I’ve thrived in the flexibility and my mental health and how I engage with colleagues has improved dramatically. And, the ability to pick up and go to a fun destination and work from there has been wonderful.
    My boss would prefer minimum 3 days per week in the office as she believes it’s critical for collaboration and that being remote has damaged our team culture (I don’t believe it’s done either, but understand she can feel differently). If she pushes this, I will find a job that allows me to be remote full time.

  52. Nonprofit Worker*

    I have been unhappy at my job for quite some time, and this issue has really brought to light just how toxic my workplace is. Working from home has been incredible for my mental health, and I’ve surprised myself with how productive I’ve been able to be. My job can easily be done fully remotely, so I cannot justify the time, money, and mental health burden of commuting into the office. I also would deeply resent a requirement to come in to the office, as it would indicate a blatant disregard for employee preferences.

    1. Nonprofit Worker*

      Also: I am exclusively considering 100% WFH positions in my job search, as a result of my experience over the last year and a half.

    2. Ozzie*

      It felt like I wrote your comment… agree top to bottom – and am also a nonprofit worker. I’m pushing for a hybrid model, but I am expecting my place of employment to make choices that I will not agree with. No far they’re completely waffling on everything though (which is unsurprising).

      I hope your job doesn’t go against employee wishes, though if it’s similar to mine… well, fingers crossed for you!

  53. Aimee*

    Is it weird to say I’m jealous that people got the option to work from home? It was draining and unnecessary for me to stay in the office. My field was considered essential, but as someone in sales, the office is not required for me to work effectively.
    Had my company invested a bit more in its IT, I would have saved on gas, exposure risk and had other ways to fill my empty time when things were slow

    1. Nicki Name*

      I don’t think it’s weird. Just as there are people who’d prefer to be in the office who’ve been given no choice but to work remotely, there are bound to be some people who want to be remote and can’t be.

  54. Christy*

    I started freelancing during the pandemic and I love it. I am so much more productive. I can work when I am at my mental and physical peak of the day and have very few meetings to endure. No office politics. No commute. I have enthusiasm for my work again and I hadn’t had that for 10+ years. I probably eventually will return to a FT staff position because if the benefits, but I will look exclusively at WFH positions.

  55. Sam Brown*

    My partner has been 100% WFH since 2018 and has turned down offers of employment from Google, big banks, etc. because at the time they didn’t offer 100% WFH. It’s a dealbreaker for him. I’ve enjoyed WFH the last year so much that when I finish my Ph.D and go back to full-time work from my current part-time I will be looking primarily for 100% WFH positions and will definitely privilege those with more WFH capabilities even over criteria like salary and benefits.

  56. Corporate Drone*

    I have the best job and boss and team I’ve ever had. They are not without their flaws–we’re insanely busy and work all hours. I find it hard to disconnect even on vacation days, even when my boss reminds me. And yet it’s still the best job I’ve ever had. I am lucky that we are fully WFH and return to office is totally optional, but even if we had to be cheeks in seats full time I’d still stay.

    All that aside, it’s sooo short-sighted to take this approach. Most office spaces are set up to work perfectly well from home if the workers prefer that–I know I’ve been more productive from home this past year than ever before–and requiring old-school in-office presence when the workers have proven themselves over likely the most difficult year most of us have ever had, personally and professionally, is a surefire way to lose some good talent.

    1. Corporate Drone*

      I do note the irony, though, of “I wouldn’t leave if we were forced back to the office full time because my job is so awesome,” because if they were to be this inflexible suddenly, it would be indicative of a change in attitude and environment that would probably filter into other facets of the job/company that would affect my experience at work, so it’s sort of a catch-22.

  57. Ellis*

    I absolutely despise working from home (for reasons both personal and professional) and I will 100% quit if my office announces we won’t be going back, despite how much I enjoy working here otherwise. Luckily I think many of my coworkers feel the same way.

    The big split in my workplace seems to be down to people who actually enjoy city living versus those who don’t. I work in one of the biggest cities in the US and I think many people moved here for work who actually hate the realities of city living. I’m the opposite—I moved here for the city lifestyle. I liked my train commute and my office space and rolling out my door to a coffee shop. I would have to move out to the suburbs to have the space for a home office and I absolutely don’t want that. About 1/3 of my coworkers did move as soon as it seemed like this would go on for awhile, and those are the ones who want permanent remote. The ones who stayed in the city seem to mostly want at least 50% in-office time like me.

    I think time will tell how successful a hybrid model will be. We do a lot of collaborative, real-time work and that’s harder to replicate virtually.

    1. Ellis*

      I should add, my workplace has always been very flexible with people doing WFH when needed, or having a flexible schedule outside core hours, even pre-pandemic. I get it when people who were never, ever allowed a WFH day previously are against returning to that sort of strict control

    2. Project Problem Solver*

      This isn’t true in my situation, though it may be for others. I live literally in the heart of the business district in a medium-large city and I would never consider moving – I adore city living! But I also really, really love working remotely. It doesn’t matter that I’m less than a mile from my official office location; I still don’t want to go there.

      Part of this is no doubt due to sensory issues where I struggle with the absolutely massive amount of unexpected sensory inputs in a space with lots of people, but I don’t think everyone is moving outside of the city if they can work remotely.

      1. Cdn Acct*

        I live where I live (a 1 br condo downtown) in order to walk to work, and I still don’t want to go back to full-time in the office. I know several others in the same boat, we live in condos/apartments and walk to work, and still don’t want to go back full-time. I love living downtown but still nope.

        I do want to go back to 1 or 2 days a week in-office just to get some of the collaborative work and informal team building done, but full-time isn’t required for that.

        I think if you have a very small space and/or share with others, it’s more likely you’d want to go in, but it’s not everyone.

    3. citygirl*

      I’ve lived in a big city for ten years, I’m very happy here, and I despise going into the office. My city experience is not commuting to the shittiest blandest part of corporate downtown so I can eat a $14 chicken Caesar salad for lunch every day. I feel like I waste the glory of the city when I spend 50% of my waking hours in a fluorescent lit office. I’d rather work from a cafe or a park, or work flexible hours so I can live my life. Not trying to discount your opinion or anything, just saying that it is precisely my love for the city that makes me want the freedom to explore and enjoy it beyond the bounds of the financial district.

    4. Lynn Whitehat*

      Oh yeah, this is me. City girl all the way. The first day I went back to the office last month, I felt like I was awake after sleep-walking through the last year-plus. I could get a coffee! Or a taco! Or go to a park! I could do anything!

    5. BPT*

      Honestly I’m with you. Part of what I love about living in the city is going into an office building, having a reason to dress up, going to meetings with people, networking, etc. I love having my morning walk on my commute and my usual lunch places I go to with coworkers. Like, working from home and not having a reason to dress up in business clothes? Not what I want permanently. I love being able to easily grab drinks after work with colleagues and be near the Hill in DC and the general collaborative atmosphere of working in the city. I moved to the city because I want that lifestyle.

      My work is likely going to be pretty flexible and have us come into the office 3 days a week most weeks, but I would be looking for another job if they went completely remote. I don’t think my particular office would anyway, because it would impede our ability to do our jobs (lobbying), but having an office to work from is definitely a consideration for me.

      1. Bob Loblaw*

        This is me too (DC law). I will probably continue working from home one or two days a week, depending on what type of work I need to get done, but I can’t imagine never going in. Plenty of my colleagues seem to feel the same way.

        It was depressing to go from lots of social and networking activity downtown after work to sitting in my pajamas every evening watching Netflix. Plus the last year has showed me that I need the discipline imposed by non-elasticized pants.

  58. Gail*

    I really like how my company has handled our return to the office. Before covid, we had no work from home policy at all. With covid, we moved to completely remote.

    They’ve now created categories that go from always in the office to completely remote. My job category was in office at least two days a week. Honestly, while I’d prefer completely remote just for maximum flexibility, two days a week is in no way a burden.

  59. Writes About Teapots*

    I am quitting because of my employer’s WFH policy. All my boss has wanted to do all pandemic was get back in the office and “return to normal,” but they couldn’t because the corporation who owns our unit was actually being responsible about WFH.

    Now that restrictions are lifting, there’s no plan, no idea of how hybrid (mandated by the corp) will work, and many employees have relocated to locations that are not close to the office, which is in OMG expensive Santa Monica.

    I have no interest in living in LA post-pandemic, so I started looking. Found several places more than happy to offer permanent WFH, and I start my new role next month. Super excited, but when I told my boss, he just said he couldn’t understand why I would want to leave.

  60. Bye Felicia!*

    I’m ambivalent on where I work, but I care about how I’m treated while I’m there. While my company technically handled the pandemic well (followed guidelines, WFH for those that can, extra protocols for those that can’t) the reality is that our management gave their worst impulses free reign over the last 18 months. Half my team has already quit or been fired for pushing back on things that open us up to legal liability, and the rest of us are actively looking.

  61. not an accountant.*

    I’ve been seriously considering quitting in response to my employer’s new work from home policy. We’ll be in 3 days and home 2 days, which is a huge improvement over where we were before (10 days a year). However, how they presented the plan really rubbed me the wrong way: a flat rule, no manager flexibility, “this is just how it is.”

    I don’t approach my job that way and especially haven’t while working from home – I’ve been flexible, working more hours, etc. I don’t want to sound like a snowflake, but I want some of the same flexibility I give to my job. More than ever, I think of my job as a mutual partnership and if an employer doesnt treat it that way, I’ll consider looking elsewhere.

    1. Never Boring*

      Seriously. We have been told that our industry (law) is “different” and requires collaborative work, so we need to be in the office. Ummm, no, actually, law isn’t different. I know lots of lawyers who are now fully remote and live in different states from their teams. And we have been collaborating quite effectively while working 100% remotely. It’s the inflexibility of upper management (not my immediate bosses) that really irks me. They are going to start bleeding people if they don’t get more flexible. We will be required to come to the office 3x a week starting in mid-July, and a new telecommuting policy will be announced in September. My immediate bosses are hinting that the new policy will be more flexible than the pre-pandemic policy. We shall see.

  62. Grace*

    My company is leaning towards an office-first hybrid model after a company-wide survey, and the current goal is to have people spending ~60% of their time in-office, with priority access for the sales and account management teams.

    I live alone and, despite being a massive introvert, have really suffered from constant WFH. It’s not as simple as just “get a hobby so you don’t need to socialise at work” – there’s a big difference between a scheduled hour or two of intense socialising versus just being in the same space as other people and able to make idle small-talk occasionally. It was less of an issue when I lived with housemates at the beginning of the pandemic, but the latter half when I’ve lived alone… Yeah. A struggle. I’m regularly going days on end without ever seeing another human being, let alone speaking to one, and while I can cope with that, I’m not enjoying it.

    If my company had indicated that they were scrapping the offices altogether and doing permanent remote work, I would have been looking for another job immediately. This just isn’t sustainable for me. My productivity is massively suffering, so is my mental health. I live in a one-bed flat and my desk is right there, all the time. I’m finding myself constantly doing upwards of an hour of overtime nightly, just because I no longer have that home-office divide.

    I like having the WFH option more easily available, but if my company scrapped offices entirely, I’d be job-hunting before the announcement meeting was over.

    1. Tired of WFH*

      I could’ve written your second paragraph onwards! And I have hobbies and friends outside of work (and did before the pandemic!) so I really don’t need all the judgment of “You must be using work to meet your social needs and you shouldn’t do that.” Restrictions are basically gone in PA (except a few businesses still requiring masks, and even some of them with a mask sign up aren’t enforcing it at this point) and I still feel burned out on remote work.

  63. AlexandrinaVictoria*

    Our CEO lives in the 1950’s, and has always said that we would never have remote working because of confidentiality issues (What if a neighbor comes over to borrow a cup of sugar and sees your computer screen? Buh?) and that in-person collaboration is too important. I only have one other person on my team that’s local….the rest are in 5 different states. What difference does it make if I’m on Zoom from my desk in the office or at home? He also proudly stated that Corporate would never close for weather, making people choose between taking vacation time or driving in blizzards or ice storms. Now that we’ve proven that we CAN work from home, and not lose productivity, I will seriously consider looking elsewhere if we can’t at least have some flexibility about hybrid working. And I’m never driving in the ice again, that’s for sure!

    1. Amber T*

      WFH was never really an option pre-pandemic, at least for my team. If you weren’t working in the office, the assumption was made you weren’t working. My car got broken into and was out of commission for a few days (I was NOT going to be driving on the highway with busted windows, and for a variety of reasons renting a car wasn’t an option). Everyone has always had the capability of working from home, so I was still able to work full days, constantly calling or emailing or IMing colleagues to let them know I’m available. And yet, even though I had worked with him on multiple things on the phone and via email, the head of my dept asked me how my vacation was when I got back. It was infuriating.

      The general consensus on my team now is that no one is going to be driving in in the snow or really bad weather, and we’re going to push to work from home more if we have a plumber coming, or a kid is out sick, or we have a doctors appt near home. Enough of my colleagues have enough standing on our team to tell our dept head “hey, this is how we want things,” and dept head is going to grumble but he’ll hopefully give in.

    2. Jessie*

      Do you work at my company? ;)

      My team is about 50/50 east coast/west coast, with a few individuals scattered elsewhere, and until the pandemic happened it was “no remote work ever”. So meetings looked like five of us joining Zooms from adjacent cubicles with maybe one or two people from elsewhere. Or my boss Zooming from his office literally around the corner. The echo/delay was an audio nightmare when you could hear someone talk – and then hear it in your headphones 3 seconds later. Fortunately they’ve gone hybrid, at least.

    3. No clever name*

      Your remark about using PTO during ice storms makes me wonder if we work for the same company. Except we’ve already been given our answer about WFH flexibility, they’ve called everyone back in, and as a result we’ve had a lot of people resign.

  64. LetMeStayHome*

    I’ve been looking for a new job, one of the things I’m looking for is the ability to work from home the majority of the time or (hopefully) full time.
    My current job is in the process of bringing people back into the office, and I’m not looking forward to the constant looking over our shoulders, but they never wanted us to work from home anyway (its a call center job, the office is not necessary, IMO).

  65. Feral At This Point*

    Started a new job about 4 yrs ago that was a good combination of work travel & WFH, with a 2-4 day in office visit (official office is in another state from where I live) to keep the in-person relationships alive and well. LOVE this set up! I can’t see myself ever being willing to go back into an office 5 days a week, the commute, dealing with all of the interpersonal drama that is much easier to ignore from home, and the lack of work/life balance. I’d take a pay cut before I’d do that again …

    1. Both In and out*

      This is my ideal as well. Had it for years until I landed at a company who refused to allow WFH until Covid hit, then had to pivot. Got laid off, then got a job that started remote of course. Company thrived and expanded since, and declared that there will be no additional office space so WFH will be permanent for some teams. Mine included. Quitting to get back to a flex/hybrid scenario.

  66. Damn it, Hardison*

    I wouldn’t immediately leave my company if I was required to return to the office full time, but I would be open to other offers that were 100% WFH. My company is having voluntary returns, and the expectation in my immediate team is that everyone will be in the office a couple of days a week. However, since we are on different coasts and countries, we aren’t all in the same office. My only local teammate is moving and will be 100% remote, so I will probably go in just once a week. I joined during the pandemic so I’ve only known WFH here, but it sounds like company was flexible before the pandemic and is becoming even more flexible after discovering that WFH didn’t have a negative impact on productivity. I definitely appreciate their position, and admit that it would be hard to go into the office every day (ugh, the commute!) after having an entire year as WFH.

  67. CC*

    My current employer is formalizing the hybrid WFH policy we’ve been following due to the circumstances of this past year. I like the hybrid model, and would prefer not to go 100% on-site or WFH. If my employer decided to do one or the other, however, I’d be a little disappointed, but would not quit over it. I have way too much invested here (14+ years) and like my job and my employer. If I look for a new job, WFH will definitely be a consideration but not a requirement. It may even open up new opportunities that I wouldn’t be able to consider because of the commute.

  68. Jack Straw*

    It will absolutely be a factor for me in future job searches. I never thought I’d like WFH, but after doing it for two different jobs (furloughed mid-2020 and then hired remotely in the fall of 2020), I can say that it depends on the role. I won’t actively seek out WFH jobs, but it wouldn’t automatically be something that ruled out a job with many other points in it’s favor.

    Both of my WFH jobs were individual contributor roles. Job 1 was with a small org (10 people) that didn’t have a decent not-in-person communication method (Teams, Skype, etc.). Employees ended up texting each other, emailing, and a few of us set up Skype accounts. I also didn’t have specific deadlines for most things and didn’t collaborate with my coworkers much. Job 1 was an awful WFH experience. I couldn’t get answers until the following day or two days later in some cases.

    Job 2 was a good WFH experience. Larger org (5000+ employees) with and already established use of Teams, so communication was easy both in test and via calls. As they return people to the office though, I’ve asked to return in July. I’m the first person on my team of six to ask to go back. I may be the only won back until the org forces the issue, but they are taking a slow approach and I don’t anticipate that happening until 2022.

    1. Jack Straw*

      Ugh, Typos.

      Larger org (5000+ employees) with an already established use of Teams, so communication was easy both via text and via calls. As they return people to the office though, I’ve asked to return in July. I’m the first person on my team of six to ask to go back. I may be the only one

  69. Ground Control*

    I don’t feel strongly enough about working from home that I’d want to quit if I was forced back to the office full time. But I haven’t found any better-paying options in my niche field over the past few years of passive job searching so quitting wouldn’t really be an option anyways.

    1. Screaming into the Void*

      This. I’m pretty open to whatever home/office balance the employer wants, because jobs in my field (or closely adjacent) are so scarce. Sigh. I wish I could be picky, but I’ve been job searching since before the pandemic and just don’t feel I have the luxury of caring more about this particular issue.

    2. Mynona*

      Me too. Niche field with 100s of candidates for every opening in an industry impacted by the pandemic. My “choice” is to leave the field if I don’t like my employer’s exploitative practices. WFH is so low on my list of issues that it doesn’t even rate.

  70. Anon HR*

    This is a major problem at our workplace right now. We’re in adult education with quite a few vocational courses that can’t be taught at home. Also, a lot of our students have problems with technology or their English so some need to hand in their application forms in person. This means that some employees must work at the office with only rare WFH in emergencies. Others could work flexibly. Management has instead decided to have everyone in the office 100% of the time to be ‘fair’ to everyone. Meanwhile, most of our employees understand that different roles have different requirements. We’ve already lost 2 employees. I know that more turnover is coming.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      My office did say that it’s not fair to force some of us to work 100% in the office (that’ll be my group) and 0% for the rest, but that is most likely how it’s going to shake out because my chunk of the office is public service and the other offices luckily get to avoid other people.

  71. Maggie*

    I have been in a remote TA role since the breakout of the pandemic. My job now is requiring all employees to come back on site. I am definitely searching for a new remote job. I have been happy in my position for the past 6 years, and very proud of the work we do, but the lack of flexibility on this topic, has forced me to re-think my priorities. I have been very successful working remotely, more so than when I was on site, and with this job market, now is the time to make that move.

  72. Female-type Person*

    I wouldn’t quit over being forced to return, but it would certainly impact how many more years I will work before retirement. I did not initially like it, but I came to really enjoy it and appreciate the advantages and the ability to entertain myself with hobbies when there was low demand for what I do (and a lot of what I do is wait for someone to need my services). Happily, I’ve been allowed to transition to a “come when you need to” model, that puts me in the driver seat. Without this change, I probably would have retired in another 18 months. I can now see going for several more years.

  73. Office at home, not home office*

    I’m considering this right now. I’ve had such improvements to my health and well-being while working from home that I will probably find another job if I’m required to go back to the office 5 days a week. I’m not willing to go back to the exhaustion and overwhelmed feelings I had before, especially when there is no business need at all for it. I’m more productive working at home – my boss has even said this. I have some challenges with limited energy and if I have too much “background” energy drag I don’t perform well. I prefer spending my brain energy actually doing my job vs. driving downtown, parking, etc. Most of the people I work with are in other cities, and I have a well-equipped dedicated office at home and no one at home to interrupt me. I’m happy to go in for important meetings and the like, but not as a routine thing 5 days/week.

  74. SidonieThorne*

    I got permission to move several states away work full-time remote in order to be with my fiance a few months *before* the pandemic, fortunately. It’s been really good for my productivity and mental health– before the move, my department was near the break room, with the ensuing sounds/ food smells/ everyone stopping by to chat even when we had headphones on. Half-height cubicles: an absolute nightmare.

    My previous manager’s policy had been “you can only work at home *maybe* one day a week or every other week, it needs to be the same one every time, and it can’t be Monday or Friday.” I think there was some concern about people sneaking three-day weekends (fair enough if they’d been burned), but there was absolutely no reason for the rest of it (I’m in tech writing). My current manager has been a lot more flexible, and I think the pandemic has only boosted that.

    I’d consider a new job that wanted people in the office 2-3 days a week if the location was right; some in-person meetings really can smooth things along. But with all the improvements I’ve made while working from home, I think I’d turn down an offer from a company/team that was rigid about being in the office *every* day. More and more as I talk to my teammates, I think that “in the office all day every day regardless of whether you have meetings or need to collaborate” is just a controlling power move or sign of bad management.

  75. Amber T*

    They’ve brought everyone back to the office 4 days a week now, with one day “permanently” working from home. I grumbled, and I much prefer working from home for time/cost saving reasons, but it’s becoming the new norm again so it’s not that bad. Admittedly, when they gave us the definitive date of returning back to the office, I looked through job openings that offered remote work, but now that I’m back, I’m okay with it. Still looking forward to Fridays where we work from home, and sincerely hoping people will work from home when they’re sniffily/minorly sick (and management doesn’t pressure them otherwise).

  76. Chainsaw Bear*

    If my job decided to go remote full-time, I would look for a new one. I’ve discovered I really like having at least a couple days in the office a week to see and talk to coworkers, both socially and for talking out work issues. However, that’s definitely also influenced by my current living situation. Since I’m in a small apartment, I never got a permanent desk set up since I didn’t want one in my bedroom. If I took a new job with a permanent hybrid schedule, it would only be if I had a designated office at home. Going back to full time in the office would definitely be an adjustment, but I don’t mind it.

  77. Hiring Mgr*

    In my case, the labor market has already spoken. We’re still remote but the plan has been to return after labor day – as I’m hiring though we’ve lost a few candidates who want full remote. So we got the higher ups to be more flexible and allow WFH – had to do it to get the best candidates (and in the role I’m hiring for it doesn’t matter)

  78. Over It*

    tbh, I’ve been frustrated with all of these articles recently talking about how employees are quitting in droves instead of following their employers’ mandate to come back to the office–it makes it seem like this is a super common phenomena when it isn’t really accessible to most people. People are justified in feeling however they feel about being asked to come back to the office/staying remote indefinitely and should absolutely advocate with their employer to try to find a situation that works for them. But most people don’t have the resources to just leave if they’re unhappy without something else lined up. So the tl;dr for me is that I’d likely start job searching if I was unhappy with my employer’s WFH/in-office policies, but I’d be prepared to stay at my job for several months to a year+ until I found a new job purely out of financial necessity.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      Right. I’m really surprised that THAT MANY can quit with no job lined up. Really?

      Honestly, I don’t think my office would care if people started leaving over this, though. They had people leaving before when the office wasn’t flexible about things and everyone is replaceable, after all.

    2. Epsilon Delta*

      I read an article that proposed that a lot of the excess quitting is possibly people who were waiting out 2020, which had a record low number of people quitting. So it’s higher than we’d expect because we’re seeing a lot of people who would have quit last year quitting now instead. And I think a lot of people are finding it easier to find a new job right now, so they’re not necessarily quitting with nothing lined up (not everyone, certainly, but a good proportion of industries are still short workers).

      1. Over It*

        I agree that many or most people who are quitting over return to office policies probably have other remote jobs lined up, and that’s perfectly good and fine. The issue I have is more around the narratives being presented. Every time I’ve read an article about people being told to return to the office, and I have read several, the authors exclusively interview people who chose to quit their job and start their own remote freelance business, or drop out of the workforce entirely. It feels like this is being presented as such an obvious solution to the problem, when in reality it’s unattainable for most people.

        1. Over It*

          This is also not to mention huge swaths of the population who work in jobs where remote work isn’t an option, and how (with the very notable exception of doctors who deserve every penny they made this pandemic) these jobs on average skew much lower income than people who could potentially WFH. That’s not at all an argument against moving toward remote work for jobs where it’s an option. I’m all for flexibility and increasing happiness at work. But we really need to diversify what narratives around work in 2021 look like.

          1. L in DC*

            Agree. I work in a field where physically being seen is a core tenant of our culture. Some can do work remotely but it’s not the norm and being in-person will always be the default. Our “CEO” unequivocally stated that we “cannot accomplish our outcomes remotely; period” We also tend to skew economically lower.

            I will be leaving this line of work soon and it will be new for me to consider being fully remote. I would probably prefer hybrid because I’ve found that I need a clear delineation between work and home. I feel like working from home is an encroachment on my life and makes work mentally harder to do, and conversely I don’t like conducting personal business while I’m at the office. Weirdly, my commute is useful because it allows me time to transition between the two.

  79. LilacLily*

    As someone with ADHD who’s been struggling and is really looking forward to returning to the office, I’m torn. On one hand I’m happy that my colleagues with long commutes will get to choose whether they’d like to return or not, but on the other I’m a single young woman who lives by herself and I really enjoyed getting ready for the day, walking to the office, seeing everyone in the morning, having people around so I could easily reach out for help, plus all the office perks, like the free snacks and drinks and the Friday pub hangouts. Just thinking about how empty the office will be and how these perks may never return (but also how we’ll keep on having awkward Zoom team meetings) kinda depresses me. Also, I hate hot desking, but I know will be inevitable once we change office spaces in order to adapt to the amount of people migrating to near-permanent remote working.

    So yes, I have thought about looking for a job that has most or a least a good part of its employees in
    the office in the near future, but at the same time I think that it’s important for companies to have a flexible working from home policy, so I worry about moving on to an unwielding company that doesn’t treat its employees fairly. It’s tough. My office hasn’t yet reopened (I’m in the UK) so we’ll see how things go.

    1. Tau*

      I hear you (no ADHD – I think – but am autistic and have some very similar problems). I feel lucky that it seems most of my colleagues are interested in working in the office – there are some who want full-time remote but they’re a clear minority, most people have been talking about 1-3 WFH days per week – because working in the office with other people around is in fact my ideal environment. WFH has been miserable, but going to an empty office wouldn’t be much better. And I’m not looking forward to hot desking but I have no idea how we could possibly avoid it without mandating in-office time, which I don’t want because I want my coworkers to have the flexibility!

      1. LilacLily*

        Yup! Exactly this. No matter how much I hate hotdesking, I don’t see a way around it either.

        I’m supper happy that your coworkers are all on the same boat as you are. My issue right now is that I work for a small team – we’re five atm, hopefully will go up to either seven or eight soon – and three of us have said they’d like to WFH permanently, only having to go to the office occasionally, whereas another said they’d like to WFH three days a week, meaning I was the only one really itching to go back, which really bums me out :( so even if I go back to the office the things I like about it are most likely not coming back and I don’t know how to feel about that. I’m willing to wait and see how things play out as the office reopens, but I’ll admit I’m worried.

        1. Tau*

          One thing on the hotdesking – you might be able to talk to your company and ask if you can get an assigned desk because you’re planning to be in the office nearly 100% of the time? A previous company I worked for did something like that when they implemented hotdesking.

          But that sucks with your team :( Definitely a pity if nobody you work closely with is going to be there. Maybe the permanent WFH people would be up for the occasional Friday pub evening, but I hear you that it’s still not the same.

  80. CatCat*

    Probably not right away, but I would like to eventually move away from my current city (and its suburbs). I also want more flexibility with helping aging relatives that live outside my city. Not around the clock type of care, but help with errands, cooking, and cleaning after a surgery, injury, or illness. I went and stayed with one relative for a month and no one even noticed my location had changed while the work would still got done. Full-time remote work would afford me these options.

    1. CatCat*

      And as the only person on my team at the office location in my city (we have offices in different cities), I am not sympathetic to the hum of “we need opportunities for spontaneous collaboration/dropping by the office/chatting at the water cooler” buzzing around. If you want a collaborative culture, then work on building it for everyone. I would be interested in seeing an article about what employers can do to build a collaborative culture with remote workers.

      1. Rebeck*

        Yes! This! It’s SO frustrating to hear all this “yay, corridor conversations, yay collaboration” when for the last twelve months those of us not in the main office have, for the first time, been included in trainings, farewells and consultations, generally been acknowledged as existing, and so all I hear when people say “we can’t wait to get back to normal” is “can’t wait to go back to ignoring a quarter of our staff again.”

        (Not helped by the fact that there is NO travel budget now, so that we can’t actually go to the main office for face to face at all where we used to go occasionally, even once we’re willing/able to travel again.)

  81. KD*

    I looked for and started working at a new job during the pandemic in publishing. It was part of the discussion/negotiation that it would be possible to have part time in office and part time from home permanently. I’ve been remote so far but will start going into the office half-time this summer. I like working from home, but there are some projects where it’s easier to sit together physically and work on things together.

  82. christine*

    I’d look for a new job if we went remote full-time. My home doesn’t have an office in it; it has a dining room that’s been my office for 15 months. I want *some* work from home days–the flexibility is great, not having to commute is great, there are tons of benefits. But ultimately, I need to get out of the house sometimes, and I need work out of my house, too.

  83. Marie*

    WFH this past year has been so amazing for many things in my life- I’m sleeping better, less stressed, my productivity is through the roof, my house is cleaner…. and on and on. There are some downsides too- I miss being around people, my activity level is way down (a lot easier to go to the gym every day when it’s on your way home from work), I have to actually plan to have food around for lunch vs. walking to a restaurant for takeout or taking advantage of catering leftovers. However, all of those downsides are things that I can easily control for myself, whereas all of those upsides are things that I cannot get back if I go back to the office.

    I’m a consultant, so I’m in a slightly different boat given that our clients dictate what they want from us vs. it just being my direct employer. Right now, I’m at a client that is in a different part of the state, so I would be WFH even if that client went back to five days a week in-office (they’re going back to 2 days a week starting in September).

    If I changed clients to a client that wanted me in the office more than twice a week? Absolutely no way. Two days a week would be pushing it, honestly- I live in the DC Metro area and do NOT miss commuting at all. I don’t mind the idea of going into the office occasionally, as the camaraderie is great and it’s nice getting in a room together and bouncing ideas off of each other. That being said, I would absolutely quit immediately if they tried to push me back to working in the office. My husband and I talked about it, and he feels the same way in his job. We’ve got enough money saved and I have a strong enough skill set that I’m positive I could find another job in a timely manner, and so I’m not worried about the consequences to taking a stand. However, I highly doubt my company is going to push that on us, since there were a lot of employees who moved during the pandemic, and our talent pool is highly skilled and so are all poised to take other jobs pretty much immediately if pressed.

  84. Mike*

    Software engineer. Remote has been life-changing for me, in a positive way. Having two hours of commute time back for my own purposes every single day is just mind-blowingly incredible. If they tried to force us back in the office, I’d be talking to recruiters within the hour.

    (Thankfully, it looks like they’re not going to do that. I am still worried that we’re going to do some poorly-thought-through “hybrid” thing that leads to a lot of chaos and confusion for a few months until we get it figured out, but oh well, probably lots of companies will go through those pains as everyone learns how to make hybrid work by making all the mistakes upfront.)

    1. Nicki Name*

      Same situation here, with about the same length of commute. Of course, part of it would be that now we all know a lot of the tech industry is fine with full-time remote work, so I know that I would be able to find a similar position with similar pay and benefits that does allow it.

      I’m also lucky that I don’t have to contemplate it right now. My company is having to look for a new office anyway (for non-pandemic-related reasons), and since over half of us said in a survey that we’d prefer permanent WFH, we’ve already been assured that the new office won’t be big enough for all of us anyway.

  85. Lizzybee*

    100% – in fact I’m in the negotiation stage with a competitor offering my my exact job with the exact same benefits/pay/ect…but I can work from home. I’m genuinely sad to leave my job as I love the company and the people, but we have an “old school” CEO who doesn’t seem to want to budge on the issue. And I’m not the only one! Every person (save 1) in an adjacent department has left over this issue. It’s madness and it’s REALLY going to affect the business. For background, I have a job where I sit in a cubicle and rarely interact with anyone. So why do I have to go to the office to do that? I’d have even been happy with a hybrid. But nope! So…off I go.

  86. Sam*

    I left my job of 6 years in 2020 in part because of their insistence on returning to the office. It was really a sign of bigger issues – poor management meant our senior leaders felt like they needed to see employees at desks in order to measure productivity.

    I wasn’t planning to leave, but when a job ad was posted for a local company already known for their strong work culture, and the ad said the position would be permanently remote, I decided to apply. Alison’s advice on applications and interviews helped me get an offer and helped me confirm that we were a good mutual fit. It’s been a wonderful 8 months so far and I’m so glad!

    I feel like this job is “spoiling” me for future jobs. There’s so much flexibility – on work environment, hours, and approach to work. There are commensurately high standards but it’s a joy to collaborate with hard-working, passionate colleagues on important projects we get to own. I have no plans to go anywhere anytime soon. If I do ever find myself job-hunting, I’ll be looking for remote work – or an office with an incredibly trusting, open culture. I can’t go back to being micromanaged ever again, and refusing to let us WFH was a symptom of that.

  87. Crivens!*

    Note that my job started remote and has no business reason to be done in-office.

    Also note that I am privileged enough that we could comfortably live off of my husband’s salary while I job searched and/or worked part-time.

    Absolutely I would. Between extra sleep, not having to worry about travel time, not having to actually be on the El or bus, and having alternatives to “staring at a screen” when work is slow, work-from-home has been a huge boon to my sanity that I have no interest in giving up.

  88. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

    I’d prefer to have a hybrid schedule going forward, and I’d be annoyed to never be able to WFH, but I don’t think I’d quit over it. Mostly because I like my coworkers, we have a small office (less than 10 people), and my commute is only 20 minutes. If I had a longer commute or a bigger office I might feel differently.

  89. Former call centre worker*

    I would possibly quit if we went to 100% work from home permanently – it’s too isolating and makes it more difficult to familiarise yourself with colleagues.

    I moved to a new department on the day my employer put in place a work from home rule last year, so I haven’t met or got to know most of my colleagues.

    I would be OK with 100% office based but I prefer the flexibility of being able to work at home when I have a reason to. Thankfully my employer already allowed some working from home for roles that aren’t location-sensitive.

  90. KayEss*

    I wouldn’t quit immediately if WFH became permanent, but it would probably be a contributing factor to whenever I decide to leave. Whether I could arrange a satisfactory coworking space outside my home would be key.

    I do a job that could easily be entirely remote, and a lot of my coworkers are angling for full remote status… but I just hate it. At home my attention wanders, I get tired more easily during the day and wind up shifting my work hours late into the night (which wrecks my sleep schedule), and I’m just a crabby, dirty gremlin 24/7. Basically my whole daily life has become a mess over the past year and I’m just hanging on by a thread until they reopen the office.

  91. insert pun here*

    I have been full time WFH since March 2020, and I would absolutely start looking for a new job if I were told to remain fully remote post-covid. 1-2 days a week wfh would be okay, but my preference is to be in the office 5 days a week (which is likely what will happen.) I wouldn’t quit on the spot or anything, but full-time WFH would definitely push me out the door.
    98% of my job can be done while remote, I just really need the separation between home and work. (I will note that my employer is requiring vaccinations, which definitely makes me feel much safer.)

  92. ObservantServant*

    I have worked remotely for about 10 years, the last 8 at a fully remote small business just past the start-up stage. The owner stated when I was hired that they hoped to open an office eventually. I’ve told them that being in an office is something I’m not interested in full time, especially since it would add hours to my day as the location would certainly be in the opposite corner of the large metropolitan area we live in. If it ever happens, I might be OK with having to go in a few times a month but would absolutely be looking for a new job if it was any more than that.

  93. Dino*

    I was working in K-12 and continued until Dec 2020, when talk of going back to in-person started. I didn’t trust the district/state/families to actually follow social distancing and PPE, and realized that after working from home I didn’t want to be back in person in K-12. So I switched to a different setting (still doing my same job, but serving different clients) where WFH is possible with restrictions. I haven’t applied for WFH yet because I don’t mind going into my specific office, but essentially the end of WFH in schools meant I changed jobs.

  94. OliveJuice90*

    I love working remotely, but I’m also fine to work in person. What I’m not fine with is my workplace’s total lack of flexibility after our return date in late July. WFH will not be possible at all and I work in higher ed with a brutal commute and an awful parking situation. I have already been applying for jobs at the much closer (50% less drive time) but less prestigious university that my spouse works at. WFH mostly taught me that a ridiculous commute is absolutely not worth it in my personal case. I don’t need to work from home, but if I can at all avoid it, I want an hour or less of my day dedicated to a commute for the rest of my career.

  95. Aggretsuko*

    I think quitting is for people who have options. It’s become quite clear over the years of job hunting that I have none.

    1. New Senior Mgr*

      I’m so sorry. I hope you have a turn of events really soon and maybe realize there are some,

  96. Lacey*

    I love my job, so if they had asked us to come back in, I would have done it even though I much prefer working from home.

    My office has unexpectedly been extremely accommodating of people’s preference and many people have chosen to work from home permanently, so I haven’t had to make that choice.

    But what it has done is cement in place that I would be extremely unwilling to leave this job.

  97. Janie*

    I reached this point years before the pandemic and I negotiated a WFH arrangement as a condition of accepting my current job. The nature of my work means that most of my professional interactions are with folks outside of my corporate offices–I spent years commuting for hours each day only to sit alone (surrounded by the noise of ppl I didn’t work with). And that commute meant no time for all the other things in life that are important.
    If I were to consider changing jobs, the ability to WFH most days would be a requirement. Fortunately, in my subfield, everything was moving in that direction anyway–a few years ago at a conference, a group of us took an informal poll and discovered that almost no one in our roles were in the office 5 days a week anymore.
    I will add that working at home has not harmed my career. In fact, once I wasn’t so burned out from the commute and the stress of having to work AFTER I got home (because of so many office distractions), and had the time in my life for things that make me happy, my work quality increased dramatically, I had time to develop new skills, and I’ve been promoted multiple times.

  98. ILoveWFH*

    I actually just did. My company’s plan to return to full time in office, coupled with moving the office to a much less convenient location for me, was a major reason I just quit for a job that will let me work remote the majority of the time. It’s been a huge weight off my mind to not have to worry about how to manage a 2 hour commute each way with my already unsustainable workload at this current job.

  99. DrivenCreative*

    I’ve been working for a small company in a niche industry for six years. I worked from the main office, in a small-medium sized town that many (maybe most?) would consider undesirable outside of the plains states, for just over three years. For the last year of that, my direct supervisor was remote. When my personal life changed, I desired a shift to remote and was able to do that. I was the fourth full-time member of our small staff of about 30 to be remote, and the first to transition from in-office. I’m still working for the company almost three years later, though working for a different remote supervisor. There are now 12 of us on the “remote staff” including the CEO and three other executive-level directors. There’s always been a little resentment from those working exclusively from the office, and I don’t think COVID helped that as the office closing for about two months coincided with a furlough of 75% of the staff. With the exception of 2020, the remote staff does travel to the office at least once a quarter. I do believe our company is past the point of being able to return to 100% in-person but I’m interested to watch the culture shift and see if we can overcome the resentment that occurs between the in-person and remote staffs.

  100. Escaped a Work Cult*

    I’ve been required to be in the office over the pandemic, despite being clearly non-essential (project management can and will happen remotely). I negotiated a WFH day but now that everyone is returning, my WFH day will end. There are other factors of why I will leave but the lack of flexibility for hybrid work is the main reason why I’m job searching.

    1. Project Problem Solver*

      Good lord, project management, really? I mean, we’re essentially, but not essential to be in person. I’ve been PMing remotely for several years now.

      1. Escaped a Work Cult*

        My boss was one of those people who wanted someone around them in order to feel like they were getting things done. My team is still remote, I have no reason to be here. That’s why I am looking to jump into a different environment all remotely.

        Don’t even get me started how methodologies are being bashed over here. We’re doing 1 day sprints, pseudo Scrum, and any pleas to drop the other meetings and do a stand-up meeting and Kanban boards only is being rejected. “Have to learn the basics of this current system.” Boss, no one has caught on to this system in the last YEAR, we need to swap.

        Again, job searching time!

  101. HarvestKaleSlaw*

    My thoughts: Work from home is going okay for me right now (advantages and disadvantages), but I had a lot of time before it started to build capital. I would be worried, right now, starting a new job fully remote. The work I do usually involves establishing myself as a resource at places that have not had someone in my role before. In the first few months on a job, that means training people on how to use me and what I can bring to their company. I kind of have to push my way into things and say, “I can take this off your plate,” or “There’s a faster way to do that.” I have to teach people that I am responsive and unflappable.

    I know how to do all that in an office environment, but remote, there is a lot less chance to overhear things, be right there in the field of vision when someone is wondering about something, catch someone when they are free to ask “so how has Company typically handled x/y/z?” I work for smaller companies typically, where if you don’t make sure people know your capabilities, you can get shunted into an admin role. Admin work is a great job and actually my background, but it’s not the direction I am looking to grow in.

    I am not looking to switch jobs right now (I’m at a great company), but if I were, I would feel like I actually had less power right now to leave. I would be trading a job where I have a solid reputation built for one where it would be tough to establish myself.

    1. Both In and out*

      I agree with you. I started a job last year and it took way longer to gel with my team not having met them, and in some cases never having seen them on video. Building capital takes longer. And I’ve done fully remote work before with my teams not in the same location. But pre Covid, I could fly them out once a year or so and have a work planning session where we’d get so much accomplished in person in 2 days with a dinner and beer, that we’d feed off that for months of increased productivity and good will. I like WFH but prefer some in person engagement in a hybrid situation.

  102. 3DogNight*

    We have been working from home for 4 days a week for almost 10 years. When covid hit, it was an easy transition to be FTR. If our company required us to come back into the office more than 1 day a week, I’d look for a new job. Honestly, if they asked us to come in for more than the occasional all hands meeting, I’d probably start looking. WFH is a big part of why I have not done more to move into a more managerial role. I’m not sure the in-person part of the job is worth the trade off, for me.
    Our company is taking the return to office very cautiously, and our culture is very inclusive and understanding, so I’m expecting no big changes.

  103. sequitur*

    I’d definitely be looking around if I couldn’t work remotely at least three days each week, but fortunately my company has already committed to hybrid working after the pandemic (and the way they’re structuring it means I probably won’t need to go in more often than everyone 1-2 weeks, which is pretty much perfectly aligned with my personal preferences).

  104. calonkat*

    I’m realizing how much more productive I was when my energy didn’t have to be spent being social. I’m very introverted, and didn’t miss in person social interaction until about 3 months into the lockdown (and I lived alone and had no pets then!) I’m absolutely exhausted at the end of workdays now, even though I sit in a cubicle and most days only talk to people on the phone and through email/zoom (even team members due to social distancing requirements. ) Just having to be around people is exhausting and after a year + of having energy at the end of the day, I’m really disgusted that WFH isn’t even a possibility now. I’m nearly 60, so only 8+ years until retirement (I have limited savings and this job is the first I’ve ever had with retirement benefits). But if another governmental agency with the same benefits package offered me work from home (with occasional in office), I’d probably jump at it.

  105. Two Chairs, One to Go*

    I worked for a fully remote company that got bought by a larger one (take as old as time). While we’re still for the most part a dispersed, remote team, there’s no opportunity for growth because you have to live near an office to apply for a different position. So yes, I’m thinking I might need to find another company if I want to make a change.

  106. At home with work*

    Of course employees choose. The working from home factor might be newly available to more people but there’s nothing new about choosing to work for a company based on the work environment, culture, location etc. I should add though, I’m not American and there isn’t such narrative going in here because the idea of employees not having that voice just doesn’t make sense here. It’s almost laughable.

  107. TWW*

    For me the answer is “yes.” I wouldn’t quit on the spot, but I would start applying for other jobs.

    My preference, by the way, is to work in office. And it’s not just a matter of what I want, it’s also a question of what’s possible for me. My 2-bedroom apartment is too small to WFH, and I wouldn’t qualify to rent a 3-bedroom anywhere in my area unless my salary increased by 10%.

  108. Exhausted Trope*

    I’ve been seriously considering what I really need in a job: flexibility, short or no commute, wfh options, skill building. I would absolutely not consider any positions that don’t allow at least partial wfh. I need that kind of flexibility in my life now and with a dedicated home office, there’s no reason to look at companies that don’t allow it. My current employer still allows wfh but I’m waiting for the day when they end it and I’ll definitely try to negotiate at least 2 wfh days. It’s that important to me.

  109. Just Another HR Pro*

    I absolutely would, although luckily that has not been the case for me. Every time the terms and conditions of your employment change, you may need to reevaluate whether or not the job is still a good fit. For most people, choosing a job isn’t just about the money, but also the other perks and details such as WFH, commute, etc. For me? I am not a huge fan of WFH, so if my office were to go 100% remote, sadly I would have to consider leaving, even though the benefits here are great, I love my coworkers, and this is exactly the work-life balance I am looking for. Im one of those odd-balls who doesn’t see a better work-life balance workign from home. Plus – I have a closet full of beautiful clothes, shoes and handbags that I am just not wearing.

    It has happened to me several times in my career, and it is usually more in cases where your office moves to a new location. Living in a very high traffic area, commute is surely a factor. So if my office were to move closer to the city, that would make my commute a nightmare and it would most likely trigger a job search.

    So yes – I would for sure start looking for a new job if my company were to go to 100% remote.

  110. Reality Check*

    This absolutely is a deal breaker for me. It is perfectly normal in my industry to WFH, but my current employer doesn’t trust us. At all. Last year, while everyone else was home, we still had to come in half a day. They were overheard talking about pay cuts because “they won’t work as hard at home, so why should we pay them the same?” And the instant our state came off lockdown last May, it was right back to the office full time.

    The deal is broken. I’m actively looking for something else. I’m seeking the obvious perks of WFH, and also to escape this mentality. It’s insulting.

    1. Reality Check*

      To clarify – we spent 1/2 day WFH and 1/2 day at office during our state’s brief lockdown.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        How was that supposed to make a difference? Were you split so half of you worked in the am and half in the pm?

        They were overheard talking about pay cuts because “they won’t work as hard at home, so why should we pay them the same?”

        Ugh. I hope you find something new soon.

        1. Reality Check*

          Yes we were split in 2 groups. Half at office in a.m. the other half at home. At lunchtime we swapped places. This had the effect of eliminating a lunch break, since we were driving to or from. Everyone HATED this set up. Chaotic & stressful.

          As for reporting them – no. We were deemed essential, so technically no rules were being broken.

          1. Anoni*

            If there were any non-exempt people having to use their lunch breaks to commute, it might bear a closer look by the state DOL.

  111. JillianNicola*

    Personally, I moved into my first office/admin job in 2020 after working 20+ years in retail and restaurants. Retail is full of bees anyway, but after working retail during a pandemic – my office job is such a MASSIVE, life-changing improvement to my quality of life that I cannot even fathom rocking that boat. I just can’t. I totally empathize with those who have been in offices their whole working career and need/want something different than what they’ve been given – but I’ve personally bore witness to a situation that is so much worse than a commute and chatty coworkers that the thought of giving it all up to stubbornly continue working from home is a hearty laugh.

    My office is currently still exploring it’s possibilities. They sent everyone home at the beginning, then pretty quickly (a few months later) opened the office back up for those who preferred to come in. Most of the office continued to work from home by choice, but I’d say about 25-30% came back right away, and now I’d say maybe 50% is back in the office at least part-time. I could see them doing a tentative hybrid situation, but they’re also exploring the fallout that might happen if they choose to be in-office full time again. For all these reasons, I feel relatively safe, as WFH is not for me. After spending 20+ years in an industry that takes the concept of “work/life balance” and shoves it as far up your backside as it can while it laughs maniacally … now that I HAVE that balance in my life I would despise having to make my home my workplace as well. I suppose if they decided to be WFH permanently, I would have to seriously consider what other options there are available, but I’d be a bit shattered as I love my job, my boss, and my coworkers.

  112. Just Another HR Pro*

    I absolutely would, although luckily that has not been the case for me. Every time the terms and conditions of your employment change, you may need to reevaluate whether or not the job is still a good fit. For most people, choosing a job isn’t just about the money, but also the other perks and details such as WFH, commute, etc. For me? I am not a huge fan of WFH, so if my office were to go 100% remote, sadly I would have to consider leaving, even though the benefits here are great, I love my coworkers, and this is exactly the work-life balance I am looking for. Im one of those odd-balls who doesn’t see a better work-life balance working from home. Plus – I have a closet full of beautiful clothes, shoes and handbags that I am just not wearing.

    It has happened to me several times in my career, and it is usually more in cases where your office moves to a new location. Living in a very high traffic area, commute is surely a factor. So if my office were to move closer to the city, that would make my commute a nightmare and it would most likely trigger a job search.

    So yes – I would for sure start looking for a new job if my company were to go to 100% remote.

  113. MissFinance*

    I’m in the small percentage of the population that can’t get the vaccine, so my office is allowing me to remain remote for now even though everyone else is coming back. They’re asking everyone to come back mainly because of a large IT project, and then they’re going to review our WFH policy, which is very stingy unless you’re a fully remote employee. I’m not sure if at this particular company I see it as a make-up break scenario because we get four weeks PTO a year, which is pretty much unheard of. My health and dental insurance is also excellent, which is a huge deal for me because I have multiple chronic illnesses and see a bunch of specialists. My commute is only 20 minutes, and our dress code is casual, so I can wear jeans to the office. I’d rather work from home, but it’s not a make or break scenario, though I overall have definitely been healthier and more well-rested this past year.

    If my commute were longer or I didn’t have as many benefits, I would be looking for a new job.

  114. Person from the Resume*

    Probably not. I was WFH before the pandemic and it is unlikely that I will be forced back into the office. * But I have been with this organization an extremely long time and get great benefit including a pension which will allow me to retire earlier than many Americans or just retire as some friends say they think they will have to work til they die. My org kind of has me hooked because of that.

    That said I live nowhere near my organization’s office. It seems unlikely (not legally impossible but unlikely for publicity and public goodwill reasons) they could force me back and force me to move without them paying for my move. If they worked out a deal where there was a local office I could go to, I would probably agree to do so to keep my job.

    * Just after I switched to full time WFH and moved far away from any office, my organization’s policy changed unexpectedly (because of one senior leaders disapproval of WFH). Lucky me; no one saw it coming and it even contradicted highest levels encouragement for WFH when feasible. They still couldn’t force me back because daily commute to an office is impossible for me and many others. But some new employees were not yet approved for full time WFH but had made decisions to take the job based on old policy, planned to put in their initial 6 months in the office away from family, and return to their home and family as a full time WFH. Others were buying or building houses planning to go or remain full time WFH. They forced people into the office at least a few days a week if they were in commute distance.

    This was just one senior leaders opinion about WFH. And it’s silly because our teams are not organized by geographic area. Being in the office does not get you face-to-face with the people you work with daily. You still need to teleconference to all meetings except now you’re in an open office plan of a bunch of people doing that instead of a quiet house.

  115. Connor*

    I work for a marketing agency and pre-COVID, about 25% of work force was fully remote. During the pandemic, we have all been working from home. I changed roles to one that is 100% remote and I have moved out of the city where the office is located. Our agency is promising to give us the full reopening plan next month (July) but has let us know that coming back will happen in September. We expect office workers to have more flexibility than pre-pandemic (where we each got 1 WFH day per week, on a day that was assigned to us) but certain teams (creative specifically) will be expected to regularly be in the office. Some of my friends on the creative side find it very unfair that their team doesn’t have the remote work option that other teams do and have been polishing their resumes and portfolios because of this.

  116. singlemaltgirl*

    i enjoy working from home but i know that it doesn’t make sense in all circumstances and for the work i do presently, my staff do need to be in the office since we serve clients in person (mental health). we can’t affordably ensure encrypted, secure, services for tele-health and virtual services for multiple sites (ie everyone’s homes) without incurring a great deal of costs so this is the stuff that needs to be done in the office. some of our work is field work – off site – and for those individuals, they come into the office 1 day a week but then have flexibility in how they schedule their time to meet the needs of the programs.

    for me, make it or break it is not wfh – but i’m not disabled nor do i need accommodations where a wfh situation would make things infinitely easier for me to do my work. my make it or break it is my management (do i have support, are they fair, are they ethical, do they put their money where their mouth is), chance to create a positive culture and address issues of inclusivity, diversity in a meaningful way (rather than slapping a policy on it and saying we’re covered). i’ve worked for too many toxic fucked up places and i’m just too old for that shit. i have a demonstrated track record and i use it. i vet my future employers just as much as they vet me.

    i think also being a woman of colour in leadership has impacted my bull shit threshold as well and what i look for. wfh is far down on the list. i want challenge, job satisfaction, a supportive environment, flexibility (in scheduling, time management, etc) and trust. those are my make it or break its.

  117. Mickey*

    Yes, I would quit over this, and I am considering how my company is handling it now. My company put out a permanent flexible working arrangement option last year including full time WFH. However, since so many people want to take advantage, the leadership team wants to walk it back. Leadership wants to now mandate 2 days in office. For me, I had arranged full time WFH with my manager since last July, and hired a fully remote team across the U.S. So working in the office means that I will sit on conference calls all day, but from our office vs. home. The company just put out a notice that you need manager +1 approval, so I put in a request… and it was denied by boss’s boss. I had included in my request a proposal for when we would be in person which was significant (time wise) and related to the work needs. Still not enough. She doesn’t envision us collaborating and working from home and wants us to sit in the office 2 days. This is regardless of whether my team or others I work with are in the same location. My boss is somewhat supportive of trying to push back and use the ‘as needed’ model. They were ok with WFH until people wanted to use the flexible work arrangements… If the 2 day regardless of needed mandate stands, I consider it a broken commitment, and I will be looking for a new role.

  118. RandomLawyer*

    I think the problem here is dealing in absolutes. I don’t understand why it has to be one or the other. I understand that for many people WFH has had great benefits in quality of life and mental health. I would not begrudge anyone who can do their jobs remotely from doing so.

    But I HATE it. I cannot state enough how over I am working from home. I don’t feel effective at my job and don’t feel like I am working to my potential. Part of that is, as stated above, I don’t feel like my employer (the “government”) has done anything to set up good work from home situations pas the (admittedly necessary) ad hoc ones the did in March 2020. But even if they had done more, I miss the camaraderie of the office. I miss being able to bounce ideas off people face to face (slack/teams just isn’t the same for me). But mostly I miss being able to have my work space laid out how I want it, and then leave it that way when I’m done working and not have to clean it up so my wife and I can have dinner. This has made the work life balance worse for me and I need the physical separation of the “where I work” and “where I live” spheres.

    I get that it is working for others, and god bless you and I’m glad for you. But this sucks for me.

  119. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

    I have discovered that I like working remotely, though I know a large factor in that is that my husband is also working remotely. If he weren’t home, I’d be quite lonely. My current job is fully remote, permanently – though I do have the option of going into the office when it reopens if I want to. I don’t plan to and even sold my car with the expectation that I won’t. My husband will likely have to return to the office eventually, but there’s no timeline for that. In future job searches, I will be looking for a hybrid model. I don’t ever want to be back in the office 40 hours a week.

  120. Squeakrad*

    I am an adjunct lecture at two local universities. One, the state university started remote back in March of last year and is continuing primarily remote for the fall semester. So I had no issues there staying remote especially as I am older and up until recently there wasn’t a requirement that students be vaccinated.

    However the other private university I work for part-time was
    insisting that faculty go through the ADA disability process if they wanted to teach remotely.I contacted my union who was ready to go to bat for me to be able to stay remote given my age, health concerns and again lack of requirement that students be vaccinated. However, my chair made the case that since I teach primarily international students, and many of them will not be able to come to the US for study in the fall,
    I’d be granted a special remote exemption for the fall semester. That not come through or the union not been able to go to bat for me successfully, I would have seriously considered stopping work for that university. I didn’t mind applying for disability exemption but other every piece of evidence I provided,I was told “that’s not enough we need more information.” Based on that and other experiences I’ve had there, it was apparent that it was just a ploy to force people to come back into the classroom.

  121. npoqueen*

    My organization has been WfH since the start of the pandemic, and there’s a good chance we won’t go back until 2022. I have mixed feelings about returning; my org and my job in particular rely on good relationships, and it’s easier to build and maintain relationships in person. However, I also don’t like wearing pants, and I like having no commute. I don’t think I’d leave my company over their remote policy (the benefits are best in class and way too good to give up), but many of us are advocating for a more robust and equitable policy. Often, it’s the high rollers who get perks like WfH, but admin staff have proved they can work well outside of the office too. I’m pretty lucky, my company asked for feedback and really seems to be taking suggestions very seriously.

  122. Dona Florinda*

    I used to work from home when was a freelancer, and was relieved when my 9 to 5 office job went remote during the pandemic. I love having my dog around, working in comfortable clothes, being able to do chores during my break and most important, not having to spend +2 hours every day stuck in traffic.
    Now that I’m back in the office, I’m actively searching for a job that can be done from home, altought my boss is aware that I very much would like to go remote again and told me that’s not off the table yet.
    But if we can’t meet halfway, than yes, I’m willing leave for a job that offers me these perks. I wouldn’t leave for a worse deal (less money, more hours or something like that), but a lateral move would be just fine.

  123. WFH dream come true*

    As my company weighed whether we would need to return to the office I told my boss that I would do whatever it took to be able to stay home. It’s an hour commute both ways, I am so much happier in all aspects of my life since WFH, and I just can’t see going back. Luckily our particular group is the only ones in our nationwide company being allowed to stay home as we have actually showed higher productivity in this time frame, while others have declined. It would definitely be a deal breaker for me.

  124. CreepyPaper*

    I love my job and remote or not, I’m happy to stick with it because at the end of the day, for me anyway, I work here because I wanted to work here and I’m the kind of person who would roll quite happily with any policy changes. I have very few deal breakers and I’m lucky to work somewhere that actually genuinely puts emphasis on how happy us worker bees are.

    We’re already back in the office on a rota basis anyway (3 days in, 2 days at home) because our office is in an old building that’s quite small and we’re not taking any chances getting everyone back in until curbs are lifted which I think is 19th July for the UK. There’s been rumblings that once curbs are lifted it’ll be ‘come in if you like’ and that’s fine for me.

    I like people around me and the buzz of an office, I found the first lockdown hard because I was totally at home with no option to go in, husband was deemed an essential worker so he was in his workplace all day, and it was just me and the dogs who aren’t the best conversationalists. So I’d absolutely go back full time if I had to with no complaints.

    One caveat, if we were to be permanently remote, I would like a laptop provided by my company, I am literally working on a gaming laptop and it’s very peculiar.

  125. Metadata Janktress*

    In general, many jobs in my field can’t be done remotely and I’m in one of the few ones that can comfortably do so. That being said, I really, really dislike working from home full time. I really enjoy interacting with others at the office and sometimes it’s just faster to go find a colleague than to play email/IM tag. Ideally I’d want to be hybrid, where I work in the office 3 or 4 days a week and work from home the other days, especially if I have a project that requires absolute quiet so I can focus. The pandemic has taken a massive toll on my mental health as I feel incredibly isolated and kind of lost. If they were to decide that I can only work remotely, unless there’s something else about the job that makes it worth my while (and it would have to be AMAZING), I’d be looking for a new gig.

  126. JM in DC*

    I work for the Federal Government. Two administrations ago, our department was granted up to WFH four days a week. Last administration went the opposite to four days in the office (wanted to see people in chairs, which equated to if I can physically see you, then you must be working). Current administration went back to four days WFH, once the pandemic is over.
    Before the pandemic and last administration crack-down, most people WFH’d 1-3 days per week, on average.
    I have an accommodation, so I could technically WFH full-time, but I think during the pandemic, my colleagues and I proved we don’t need to be in the office, and was especially made easier for me once my young kids went back to school in person in March 2021. My colleague and I will push for one day in the office that we all agree to come in for collaboration and staff meetings, and WFH the rest of the week. We do a lot of document writing and analysis, which isn’t conducive to a cubicle environment. Additionally, our supervisor isn’t on site, so it never made sense to us…

    1. JM in DC*

      With regards to if they made me come in/ stopped WFH, I can do 100% of my work from home. If I didn’t have an accommodation, at first, I don’t think I would quit. We just bought a house in 2019 so wouldn’t move closer, and the commute isn’t terrible, but it is tiring. Probably after a year, I would have to consider working elsewhere, though I love my job and colleagues, and my agency. I am mid-career, so retiring early wouldn’t be an option.
      When the last administration changed to 4 days in the office, almost all of us pushed back and they didn’t care. Many left or retired early. Morale was low. When the new administration came on, the first thing they addressed was restoring the 4 days WFH policy, and reviewing all the policies from the last four years.

  127. Chc34*

    My current position is remote for a company in a different state, so if they reversed course and decided everyone had to be in person, I’d have to quit because I’m not moving. This was not a company that originally supported remote work so this is new to them, but they’ve been very open about the fact that everyone can make the decision about staying remote or coming into the office that’s best for them.

    If, however, I were to look for a new job at some point in my actual city, I don’t think I’d mind one where the default was coming into the office, although it would be nice to have some flexibility to work from home when I needed to. I’m in the boat where I need to be remote for my current job, but I’m not adament about being remote forever.

  128. Pollywog*

    My work is doing a gradually return – 2 days a week in July, 3 in August, full time starting in September with no regular flexibility, only the “occasional” option to work from if, say, a kid is sick, or some other extraordinary circumstance – and I am actively looking for another job that will allow continued flexibility. It makes me sad because I love my job and have built a really strong team, but after working from home for a year+, my quality of life is so much better. No more losing an hour each way to commuting, no more frantically trying to spend time with my son in the evenings before he goes to bed, no more sacrificing exercise and my own wellness habits for things like grocery shopping or other necessary errands when I can be home to have those delivered, etc. For the past year+ I’ve sat down and eaten breakfast with my son every morning, because I am not trying to get him dressed and fed and myself office-ready at the same time. The pace of life is so much slower and I’m able to prioritize my home life in new ways, and having lost friends and family to COVID and seeing their devastated families, I cannot stomach giving up precious time again.

  129. ATX*

    We’ve been part-time back in the office (every other week) and we’re going back full time in a month (1 day/week remote allowed and if needed, more time is permissible).

    I love my job, my boss, the flexibility I have, my paycheck, and the people I work with. To me, that outweighs working from home. You never know what kind of toxic BS you’ll be walking into with a new job that allows full or partial WFH.

  130. Richard Hershberger*

    The question doesn’t apply to me personally. I work in a very small office: me, my boss, and a secretary. When the shutdown happened I volunteered to keep coming in. There were practical reasons for one of us to do this, and my home setup would have been squeezed pretty tight with me, my wife, and two daughters all at home.

    Would I, under different circumstances, quit over this, in either direction? Probably not. But I might start a low-level job search. So I guess the answer is yes, I would quit if I had a different job lined up that I liked better. The only way this is different from the Before Times is that office vs. home work would be higher on the list of priorities.

    My suspicion is that we will see a bifurcation of jobs into those that can be done remotely, and those that really need physical presence. Workers will divide themselves into those groups based on their personalities and work styles. And while some employers will try to insist on physical presence even for jobs that don’t really need it, they will be at a severe disadvantage hiring workers. The idea of physically relocating to be within commuting distance of the office will seem increasingly unreasonable, for those jobs that don’t actually need it.

  131. IdahoSmith82*

    I had to move out of state during Covid, and got approval to work from home permanently. We recently acquired an office in they city I moved to, and since I’m still based out the original location, I was grandfathered in and get to maintain my work from home agreement. Which is good for all of us, because I truly am more productive at home.

    My company also realized that the majority of the folks in my same position are actually more productive working at home, and has made the work from home a permanent option for the long haul. It was something we had to earn, and prove some of the folks wrong in order to maintain it. Our role really can be done successfully from our homes, and it just makes more sense to retain us than lose all of us over something that has been proven to work.

  132. PJS*

    For me, as much as I loved being able to stay up later, sleep in, and be there for my sick dog more often, I do actually think it’s easier to do my job in the office and I don’t really mind that my employer has us all back (I’ve been back for months). I might feel differently if I didn’t have an easy commute (I live in a major city and most jobs would not have an easy commute). However, my boyfriend’s job has gone permanently remote and that has made him decide to stay there when he had been previously thinking of job searching for unrelated reasons.

  133. Nancy*

    I would have looked for another job if full remote had become permanent. I always avoided applying for jobs that were full remote in the past, and if I ever look for a job again, will do the same. No different that leaving/choosing jobs for any other number of reasons that people have, really.

  134. HailRobonia*

    Yes, I would… but I’d need another job lined up (I’m actually already searching).

  135. Petty Editor*

    I actually successfully negotiated to work from home just before the pandemic started so I could move to another state to help care for a recently disabled terminally ill parent. While there is a local office in my current city, I would absolutely quit this job if work from home was revoked. Wfh allows me as a caregiver to find work-care-life balance in meaningful and deeply important ways – reclaiming time from commuting, healthier cheaper meals at home, being able to run a dishwasher or laundry during morning breaks, soaking my feet during email management, a quick lunchtime nap when I’ve been up dealing with a sick adult since 4 a.m. to just not needing to do the full hour of morning prep to dress in full femme corporate attire. Plus not bringing home the flu or other sicknesses to an immunocompromised person is immeasurable. She has lived far longer than expected probably because of that. I have passed on other local job offers in the past 6 months because they did not offer wfh even one day a week. My Fortune 500 company is moving to offer more flexible scheduling to all employees now – 3 days in office and 2 at home, four 10 hour days, etc. – as a recruitment and retention strategy. I know it is certainly retaining me!

  136. TwoDaysAWeekFromHomePlease*

    My company has no work from home option anymore unless you are sick (think cold/ flu where you may have normally came in and proceeded to give it to the whole office), or if you or your child has an appointment during work hours. It’s expected that WFH is something that happens infrequently if ever. This has definitely impacted my view of my company and has me considering another job search, but more than likely it’s just going to force me into going part time which will hinder my career growth. It’s unfortunate that a more hybrid schedule isn’t being considered considering how we all proved that we could still do good work from home, and even more unfortunate that this lack of flexibility will inherently negatively affect female employees more so than male employees (generally not always).

  137. LKH*

    I have been able to do 99% of my UK museum-based job from home. I miss being in stores and with the colleagues I love, but if I were ordered back to the office full time, I’d be out. Especially as office space was already extremely cramped before the pandemic and we were in dire need of more room. I want a balanced approach, which is thankfully what my employer is now piloting for 18 months.

  138. Liz*

    As a parent of school and daycare-aged children, working from home has been an absolute lifesaver. I used to get so anxious over how I was perceived if I, say, left the office 20 minutes early to get to pickup on time. Now, I can leave and come back without anyone even knowing I was gone. I still get all my work done and perform well, but without the constant stress of worrying about who needs to be driven where and whether I need to find my kid a ride or whatever.
    It’s also put money back in my wallet. I used to spend thousands of dollars a year for someone to care for my kids from 3 to 5. Now, I can continue working while they do homework at the kitchen table or play in their rooms.
    I actually changed jobs during the pandemic and don’t think I would have accepted a role that wasn’t fully remote.

  139. Spooncake*

    I’m actually job-hunting right now purely because the last year and a half has shown me how much going to the office every day was taking out of me. I have endometriosis and other health issues that make things like commuting and office bathrooms really difficult, and while I’ve been working remotely I’ve been able to look after myself properly AND be more productive at work because I’m not constantly sick and exhausted (…as much, lol). Ideally I’d like a hybrid system with WFH days for focus (and bad pain days) and office days for collaboration, but my current employers don’t allow for that and I’m not sure I can physically manage 5 days a week in the office any more. So WFH availability is a deal-breaker for me, but if my circumstances were different it might not have been.

  140. onyxzinnia*

    I wouldn’t outright quit with nothing lined up if my organization returned to the old “butts in the seat” management style, but I would definitely be looking at my options in the job market.

    My employer is doing a gradual transition into a hybrid workplace and letting employees decide with their managers how often they want to come to the office (if at all) this fall. It never would have happened if the pandemic hadn’t forced them to go remote. I’m going to try the hybrid situation, but I don’t think I will ever go back to 100% office work.

    I was surprised by how much I enjoy working from home with a more fluid work-life balance. There are fewer distractions at home than there are at the office, meetings are run more efficiently, my own private bathroom, my favorite homemade coffee, and the cutest furriest coworkers. No more commutes and I save money on lunch. I can even catch up on laundry between meetings. That being said, as a DINK couple in good health, I recognize that my partner and I have a lot of privileges that others have not had during the pandemic.

  141. The Balance Hasn't Shifted That Much*

    I could not afford to quit my job, period. It would have to be Hellmouth levels of bad for me to quit. Work from home vs work on site is nowhere near a big enough deal for me to give an ultimatum to my employer. I understand it’s a bigger deal for other people; for one thing I don’t have kids.

    In some hypothetical future job search would I ask about flexible work options such as work from home or flexible work hours? Yeah I’d probably ask but in the same way I would ask about the office culture. It would be a minor factor in my decision.

  142. Chairman of the Bored*

    Another data point: My brother works for a big technology/manufacturing company. It’s a household name with thousands of employees.

    His whole building went to WFH at the start of the pandemic. A few months ago the big bosses said it’s time for everybody to come back to the office, and set a date when everybody was supposed to be at their desks.

    When that day came, only like 15% of the employees actually showed up. The rest just …. stayed home. And they kept staying home for the rest of the week.

    The bosses had to send out an email saying “Uh, maybe we jumped the gun on coming back to the office” and reinstating site-wide WFH until further notice.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      This is fascinating! I suspect we are talking about workers with skills in high demand, who were pretty confident they could land on their feet if it came to that. Was there any coordinated resistance, or was this spontaneous? It is impressive either way, but if spontaneous this is very telling of worker attitudes.

      1. Chairman of the Bored*

        Yes, given the work they do and where the place is located I would imagine most employees here wouldn’t have a hard time finding another job if needed. My brother certainly wasn’t worried about it.

        As I understand it third-hand this was not organized in any real deliberate way; but people had had enough conversations with each other beforehand that they all knew that whoever stayed home would be in good company.

  143. Sunny_Side_Up*

    It has become my #1 consideration when job searching. I am now only interested in remote positions- something I had never even considered pre-pandemic.

  144. Anc*

    I would absolutely leave if a company did NOT bring us back to the office. Not just because working from home did not work for me, but because it feels like reneging on the agreement of employment. If I signed up for an in office job and they make it permanently remote, that is not what I signed up for. I am ok with taking the needs of the business and the employees into account and working out a hybrid model that will work for everyone, but yanking the rug out and saying we are never bringing you back to the office would be a deal breaker for me.

  145. VickiH*

    My husband is an engineer, working for a medium city. For years City Hall has needed major updates, and they have been renting out space around the city to make up for the lack of offices at City Hall. As you can imagine, councillors have jumped on the idea of having everyone work from home to avoid the expense of a repairs/renovations.
    The problem is that this leaves people who can’t afford to work from home (like recent graduates with no space/money to buy printers, desks,etc) in the dust. Boosting internet capacity, printer ink, paper, so many other costs, are all going to be downloaded onto the workers.
    Mandatory WFH is going to leave a lot of people behind, especially low-income people who literally cannot afford to apply for these good, stable jobs.

    1. Chairman of the Bored*

      Do reduced costs for things like commute/clothing/etc help balance out printer ink and related expenses when people shift to WFH?

      I wouldn’t be surprised if most employees spend more to work than the value of the office supplies they consume on any given day.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I agree. I work from home for the federal government. They provide a computer to connect to their internal network using a VPN. (You cannot reasonably work using the technology provided for using your own equipment.)

        Other than that I pay for everything else in my home office. Desk, chair, internet, power (A/C), even wireless mouse and extra monitor (although they might provide a mouse or extra monitor). I don’t print anything so no printing costs. I barely hand write anything, but I do provide my own pens and paper. I think the pens are all free pens honestly.

        I don’t mind paying the cost for the benefit. I see the biggest benefit as mostly time saved in commute and getting ready for work. But I get gas once a month or less now unless I make a long drive for fun. I put average around 7,500 miles a year on my car so so much less wear and tear. I haven’t bought “work” clothes or shoes since I stopped going into the office. The hidden benefit for me is the cost of things I used to pay for because of dressing for the office or commuting to the office.

        It’s a fair tradeoff for me. I don’t complain about providing my own desk, chair, workspace, internet, electricity.

      2. Brett*

        At least for local government, commute expenses are typically offset in some way (e.g. when I worked local government, all my public transit and parking were free or discounted ~90%). Many departments provide clothing or clothing allowances as well. But anything that stays in your house is not paid for or reimbursed. But they won’t provide equipment that stays at your house, so no monitors, keyboards, desks, chairs, printers, paper, pens, notebooks, etc can go home with you even if you work from home.

        1. Chairman of the Bored*

          That sounds like a policy that they could change if they wanted to move to a work from home model, right?

          1. Brett*

            Probably not, no. The reason transit passes, clothing, etc work out well is because they are the property of the employee, not the employer, for government, and so employees don’t have to account for personal use of those items. There is also therefore no requirement to return them when your employment ends because you own them.
            This is how it would need to work for furniture and peripherals, but it can be a hard sell with the general public to buy furniture, monitors, desk, printers, etc that become property of the public employees forever.It might seem like the best alternative is to make those pieces of property taggable capital assets, but then you start pulling them out of capital budgets instead of general funds. Laptops and phones normally already are capital assets, so that’s why those are devices that typical do go home and are purchased for employees. Consumables like paper and pens are an even bigger landmine, because either you allow personal use (not going to happen) or you have employees account for business use of all of their supplies.

            1. Brett*

              “so that’s why those are devices that typical do go home and are purchased for employees”
              I phrased that wrong.
              “so that’s why those are devices that typical do go home and are purchased as property of the agency for business use by employees”
              i.e. the government employer retains ownership of the phones and laptops, but to do that, they have to purchase them out of capital funds.
              The ability to “control” the devices (i.e. remotely disable them) probably fits into that too for many local governments.

    2. Sanity Lost*

      You make a really good point regarding the socio-economic standpoint. When the last administration re-wrote the tax laws, one of the items they took away was the ability to write off home-business expenses (computer, ink, printer, etc.). I know a lot of small business people who worked out of their homes were very angry that this tax exemption no longer existed and it severely impacted their financial status. I wonder if the companies would be willing to subsidize, or provide these materials to their remote workers. I also have to wonder if that tax law will be repealed in the coming years when people start clamoring for it to come back.

  146. Unfettered scientist*

    I’m starting a new job in a few months, so I actually look forward to meeting people in person. That said, I’d prefer working from home at least some of the time. I’m not sure if that will happen in this position (likely not based on how things were a few months ago when I interviewed), but I’d certainly welcome the option.

  147. cactus lady*

    Yes, I would quit over it (and possibly will). Pre-COVID, I didn’t like working from home. It took a little while to get into the groove of it, but now I LOVE it. I am WAY more productive than I ever was in the office and am happier with the balance of working hard and getting to play fetch with my dog for 10 mins in the afternoon. I am absolutely dreading going back to the office, which we will be required to do in August. I really like the work that I do, my company, and my team, but I moved for this job and I don’t like the city it’s in. I would prefer the freedom to work from anywhere (or at least more than one geographic location). I’ve always been like this – I’ve moved jobs every 2-3 years because I get restless being in one place – but now that I have been able to make WFH work for me, I would like to find work that I enjoy as much as my current position but allows me the freedom to move around and live the lifestyle I would like to live without having to change jobs.

    1. cactus lady*

      One other thing (pls don’t quote this), I have Crohn’s disease and am able to work through symptoms that I would not be comfortable going into the office with. I have only taken 1/2 day in the past 15 months due to Crohn’s symptoms, when usually it’s 5-7 days a year.

  148. Sanity Lost*

    I haven’t stopped going into work since the pandemic started. First it was in retail, then I was able to transition back into an office position. One of the perks that I have come to really enjoy though is the hybrid model, especially on bad weather or pain days. If I start looking for a new position, I would really prefer a more hybrid model personally. It won’t “make or break” my decision if they don’t offer it, but it would definitely make the position more attractive to me.

  149. Stavia*

    If my employer wasn’t willing to let me be remote from another state, I would 100% be job hunting right now. They relocated me 2000 miles away from home when I started this job, and while I love my job I hate Texas SO MUCH. I have no friends here, and with the pandemic it’s been me and the cat for 18 months or so now.

    My priorities have shifted with the pandemic. I need to be home, with the ability to go outside most of the year and in reasonable proximity to friends and family. I’m lucky that permanent remote work is 100% supported now by my company, and that selling my house and moving won’t financially break me, but if that were the case I would absolutely be planning to quit.

  150. BlueWolf*

    I think if they said we had to go back into the office fulltime, I would definitely explore other opportunities out there, since there seems to be quite a bit of demand for my position. My office hasn’t told us exactly what they’re planning yet, though. They’ve sent out surveys asking about our preferences, and so far they definitely won’t require anyone to go in before Labor Day. My guess is that they will at least allow a hybrid model because we’ve managed to work successfully from home for over a year now. Prior to the pandemic, my department didn’t have the ability to work from home, except for managers, but since it’s been proven to work I think they would be willing to allow it going forward.

  151. Leelee*

    If I had to work from home 100% of the time I’d leave.
    My company closed my local office location during the pandemic, and all of us based there are now ‘agile workers’ (aka still working from home). We’re currently discussing if we can have a part-time office, so we can go in a couple of days a week. I’m very lucky to have a dedicated office space in my house, but the isolation is really wearing on me. Zoom is not the same, and I miss seeing people. I think 2 days in an office and 3 days from home would be perfect.
    If they decide that I’ll need to WFH forever I will look for another job that has a mix.

    Being asked how a company has handled WFH during the pandemic should be something that recruiters are prepared for, I would certainly ask it if I was a candidate. I want to see that the company values safety, but also that it’s robust enough to adapt quickly.

  152. El l*

    My organization chose to bring us back into the office – in August last year. Really. They used what can best be described as a loophole to do it, and we were the only one in our industry to do this. It’s been 100% in office ever since. For context, I do analysis in the power industry, I’m in my late 30s, and the decisionmakers involved are small-town and older.

    Whether it’s 50% WFH versus 100% versus whatever is not why I’m interviewing elsewhere. It’s not why one of my colleagues left, and why at least one more besides me is on their way out of our small office. I’m leaving because I want the flexibility to be “where I’m most productive” when I don’t have meetings.

    We can accept all kinds of provisos – but the expectation that we must be in the office 9 to 5 like it’s IBM in 1959 really rings hollow today. 9-5 is simply not fit for purpose, either in our personal lives or for that matter in today’s competitive environment in our professional lives.

  153. Voodoocanoe*

    I was full WFH before the pandemic, so i would DEF quit if they tried to make me move to HQ and be in person.

    If it were a temp pandemic thing that they were going back on, I wouldn’t quit outright, but I’d be heavily job searching and quitting as soon as I found a full remote job.

    1. Project Problem Solver*

      Yeah, our leadership is talking about moving to a hybrid model. Which is fine for people who had to go in every day before the pandemic, but met *incredibly stiff* resistance from my department, since most of us were hired as remote employees well before the pandemic. If they move forward with this, they’ll definitely lose more than a few people. (I will probably not be one of them because my time with the company gives me very good benefits, but it would significantly and probably irrevocably damage my morale and faith in the company to keep its promises.)

  154. The Original K.*

    I’m definitely reconsidering what I want from a job, and hoping to shift my long-term financial goals to be able to retire sooner (that’s literal decades away, but maybe I can retire closer to 60 than 70). To be blunt, I didn’t come this far surviving a pandemic only to work myself to death. My peers and I (white-collar professionals in our 30s, mostly) are all having these conversations, and all of us either want to work less or do work that matters to us more. (As I’ve said, I feel really negatively about “getting back to normal,” when normal was bad for so many. I also feel like it’s disrespectful to those who are grieving people lost to COVID – there’s no “normal” for them, and we as a nation in the US have barely acknowledged that grief at all.) I’m doing some fully remote contract work now for an org where work/life balance isn’t a thing (people work on vacation and around the clock, there’s very little PTO offered and virtually no sick time), and that’s not the life I want.

    I am actively interviewing and am not considering roles that are not at least partially remote, and the remote side needs to outweigh the in-person side (e.g. 3 days a week remote, minimum, if we’re going in for part of the time every week). I’ve developed a routine that I like, I don’t much care about “office culture,” I experience fewer micro aggressions as a WOC being at home than I do in person … I don’t feel the need or desire to go into an office every day, and my line of work doesn’t require it.

  155. Snow globe*

    I have been WFH for several years, and it is a big reason why I am still here. When our company went through a restructure in 2019, I thought about leaving, but decided to stay because I didn’t think I’d be able to get full-time WFH elsewhere.

    I’m now at a point where I’m ready to move on (for other reasons), and I’m definitely focusing on remote work. If I had two choices, and one offered more WFH flexibility, that would probably weigh more heavily than salary for me.

  156. amoeba*

    Would definitely actively job-search if my job changed to 100% remote or even if most of my colleagues changed to remote permanently, leaving me alone in the office. Luckily, we have labs so that’s quite unlikely. Have worked from home for several months in a new job this year and it sucked – much harder to supervise experimental work remotely, and also honestly just felt super isolated and depressed. Also, the meeting load apparently doubled when people started working remotely, the workload increased, and video calls are so much worse than in person meetings. And I seriously missed our canteen, cooking all my own meals was a nightmare.

    On the other hand, 100% office presence without any flexibility would strike me as slightly old-fashioned and I’d miss working from home for a day when visiting my partner or for doctor’s appointments etc., but no dealbreaker.

  157. EvilQueenRegina*

    Where I am, they’re still working out what’s going to happen – the all staff communication says something about balancing flexibility with the fact that some jobs can’t easily be done fully remotely, and the fact that some people prefer not to. But after a year and more, I still truly don’t like remote and the thought of permanent remote makes me want to run away screaming. (My specific job is actually something that isn’t easy to be fully remote, at the moment I’m going in one day a fortnight but would willingly do more).

    So my honest answer is, I’m waiting to know what the actual proposal is before I make a final decision on that. If it looked like they were trying to make me go fully remote, I wouldn’t quit with nothing else to go to, but I would seriously consider job hunting. I could live with partial remote if I really had to.

  158. Anon for this*

    I did quit. We required all employees to return to the office in anticipation of our state opening. I gave two months’ notice and was able to transition everything.

  159. Canonical23*

    While I definitely see the media story of a “reckoning” being on its way, as someone who got laid off of one of my adjunct jobs early on into COVID, I don’t see the reckoning much in practice. I worked with organizers to form a union in my metro area and we’ve been working non-stop for over a year now and we have maybe 2 or 3 dozen people involved. I think there’s a lot of talk and very little action.

    I have friends who quit their jobs early on in COVID because they were front-line workers and their managers weren’t taking safety measures seriously. I have a few friends who have negotiated a hybrid set-up. But WFH/permanent remote just doesn’t seem to be taking on where I am in the Midwest – only in really large metro areas that are hubs for tech industries.

    My other adjunct job just returned us to campus last month and while it’s been frustrating that I can’t work remotely on the days that I’m not assigned to public places, I’m not about to quit over it. It’s just yet another demonstration that administration members (whether non-profit directors or academic presidents or CEOs) are fairly out of touch with the general employee public. I’ve been interviewing at full-time non-academic jobs and I consider it a bonus when they offer regular WFH days (rather than just saying “oh we can occasionally be flexible”) but it’s not a requirement. I think companies should see WFH as something a lot of people need once or twice a week and also realize that the reason many people enjoyed working from home was that they could use their breaks to take care of “at home” stuff. So even just being flexible for people to go to a doctor’s appointment or leave early to pick up groceries would go a long way for a lot of workers right now – I think the anger about returning to work in-person is tied heavily to how inflexible your job was pre-pandemic.

  160. Pickles*

    I was 98% in the office during Covid, often in the office by myself but there as the interface with other branches. Conversations with employees inside our branch took two weeks minimum with some security and technical hurdles, and the rules on who could be in the office when kept changing (most people had to come in ~10 hours a week, scheduled for spacing). We arguably implemented telework quite poorly, so it’s 100% clear we’re more efficient in the office.

    Most people were given a few months to transition to being in the office more, and telework was cut off this month unless you have special circumstances. We’ve seen a wave of retirements and a few stay-at-home parent decisions, but no significant impact on retention just for the telework aspect. That said, I’ll consider it more when I think about moving on than I would have previously. This might be a “not yet” factor.

    Long term, I definitely think this will impact our recruitment, but we have a unique selling point that usually gets us past the other disadvantages. We’ll see if it works for this one too.

  161. socks*

    My company is planning on making all current employees come back to the office full-time by Labor Day, BUT any new hires in my department can work remotely, so that’s…something.

    Remote work is the new default in my sector, so they know they can’t get good people if they don’t allow remote work for new hires. What they seem to be missing is that they’ll lose most of their current people, and then have to hire a bunch of new people who all work remotely anyway. (And, for what it’s worth, productivity actually went up in my department during the pandemic, and we have to work with teams across the country and internationally, so me being in the office really just means my Teams calls have more background noise)

    1. Not So Super-visor*

      That’s definitely odd… we are telling all current employees that they have to return after Labor Day but any new employees that are starting this summer are starting at and staying at the office

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      This is consistent with my Great Bifurcation prediction. Your sector can do its work remotely, so requiring physical presence has become untenable for recruiting. Your company realizes this, but hasn’t connected the dots between recruitment and retention. This suggests that the capability for abstract thought is not widespread in your company’s C-Suite. This leaves the question of whether they will figure it out once the resignations start coming in.

      1. socks*

        > This suggests that the capability for abstract thought is not widespread in your company’s C-Suite.

        Lmao, sounds about right!

  162. Wayward San Diegan*

    My employer (private, mid-sized university) is telling everyone we will Absolutely All Be Back On Campus come the beginning of the fall semester in August. The University was very anti-WFH pre-pandemic so it was a major culture shift when we all started remote work. By all accounts, full-time or hybrid remote has been successful for almost everyone. But the student-facing staff who have had to return to campus full-time have complained about others being remote, so HR and the powers that be are baulking at the idea of keeping us remote due to… fairness? Obligation to our students? Who knows. I love my employer (my alma mater), but am highly considering leaving over this just because it’s so unnecessary. There are lots of other jobs in my area and other universities that I know are keeping a lot of staff in a hybrid model. (I should clarify that while I feel safe returning to campus, it’s purely a quality of life issue for me. I have a husband with a very demanding, non-flexible job and kids, so being able to throw yoga pants on at the last minute and hop on or being able to toss a load of laundry in on lunch has been a lifesaver for my sanity.)

    1. RemotelyCommenting*

      Everytime I hear workers whose roles require them to be in office complaining about others being allowed to work remote, I wonder if they also complain about the traffic commuting to work. Imagine if half the cars commuting to work suddenly got out of your way because those jobs don’t need commuting anymore. I think there should be other incentives and benefits offered to in office workers for fairness, but I don’t understand wanting to make other people commute in just for “fairness.”

  163. working mom*

    I would and I did. My company had started moving back to the office late last summer and slowly increased the amount of days to be spent in the office. I had worked from home before joining that company, and went fully in-office when I moved there. COVID helped me realize that having the autonomy of working from home helped me do my best work. When the final plans started rolling out (4 days in office, no exceptions) I was already looking due to other factors, but that was really a nail in the coffin. I couldn’t keep running the marathon of so many days in the office and keep my sanity. WFH is where it’s at for me and all my future job prospects will need to have a strong WFH program.

  164. AJ*

    I actually have a positive experience with COVID WFH. I made a big career transition in early 2021 by looking for 100% permanently remote positions. The company had some experience with remote employees but I have to think that having everyone remote made them more open for it at my level. The existence of WFH roles and companies’ willingness to advertise that they were remote really helped my job search. Also, the infrastructure (onboarding, web conferencing and IT setup) was ready to go to make onboarding a 100% remote employee go smoothly.

  165. Littorally*

    Would I leave this job if my employer mandated a WFH policy I didn’t like? Probably not, as my employer does enough other stuff I really do like that it would take a lot for me to leave. Would I leave a job over a WFH policy I didn’t like? Heck yeah. I do not like working from home, I do not do well working from home, and I would need a lot of other valuable upsides to the job in order to accept a permanent WFH situation.

  166. ivylaughed*

    Yes, I would quit.

    I am immunocompromised. I have my vaccine; however, there is no way to tell how effective it is. Therefore, I need to remain at or about the same level of vigilance as the year of quarantine until – honestly, I think I’ll be lucky if I can ever go back to pre-pandemic times. It looks too likely that COVID is being endemic, especially with the insufficient percentage of people vaccinated and the variants, both those that already exist and those that will spring up because of the unvaccinated population.

    I don’t know if I’m ever going to be working outside my home again.

  167. Melissa*

    I’m in local govt, current job brought everyone back beginning of May (earlier than I thought prudent, but I wasn’t surprised they brought everyone back). New job has indicated they’ll be allowing everyone that it makes sense to one day remote, which honestly is exciting and unexpected.

  168. No Ragrets*

    I left a job with a long commute (and an open office plan that was not conducive to the client-facing work we did with lots of intense phone calls) for a company where everyone is permanently remote. Because the company is focused on setting us up for remote-work success, I’ve been able to excel in my highly collaborative role, I have great relationships with my coworkers, and I’ve evolved practices that help me maintain work-life balance. (My company will also pay for coworking space, so no one is stuck working from home if they can’t/don’t want to.) Having experienced both ends of the spectrum now, I would be *extremely* unlikely to even apply to a full-time in-person job in the future, and would never voluntarily commute more than 15-20 minutes. The flexibility of my current job is a big part of what’s kept me there through an incredibly stressful year.

  169. Anonymous Koala*

    I wouldn’t quit my current job if they made us go back to 100% in person (although that’s unlikely – even before the pandemic they allowed 50/50) but it’s going to be a major consideration for future jobs. In my line of work everything can be done remotely. We’ve been even more productive (from a metric standpoint) than we usually are this year working 100% wfh during the pandemic. Upper management has made it clear that 100% remote work won’t last forever and we’re really pushing back on that as a group, but I’m not sure how it’ll work out.

  170. The Balance Hasn't Shifted That Much*

    I could not afford to quit my job, especially not over work from home vs work on site. It’s not a super big deal to me either way, but even if it was, I could not quit my job. I understand that it’s a big deal to other people, and maybe if I was in an industry with more job openings I might feel more like seeking out the “perfect” working conditions. But honestly I just can’t imagine quitting my job or giving my employer an ultimatum over this. Maybe if I had kids, or a super long commute, or a chronic illness to manage, I might feel differently.

    In some future hypothetical job search would I ask about flexible work hours and work from home options? Yeah probably, but in the same way I’d ask about office culture and how vacation time is handled. Considerations, but not deal breakers.

  171. LadyByTheLake*

    I have been work from home for many years — as have many/most of my peers in similar jobs. My work is 100% being on the phone or needing quiet concentration time — perfect for remote work. The occasional (every 2-3 months) face to face meeting can be helpful no more than that. I have a good set up at home — separate office, huge desk, powerful wifi, landline with a headset. There is no scenario where I need to go to an office to do my job and I would quit over it (and not take a job where that was a requirement). I hate commuting, I don’t want to have to maintain a work wardrobe, I don’t want to have to deal with the kind of grooming that is expected in my field (hair styled, face made up), I like the flexibility of starting early, running errands in the day, being at home for workers, etc. I can’t imagine any tradeoff that would make sense (for me or employers) that would make being in the office make sense.

  172. greenwalker*

    I am a psychotherapist in the US. Pre-pandemic, video sessions were generally looked down on in the field here, and used only for emergencies by most therapists. Since the pandemic, well, we all had to reckon with that pre-existing bias and suddenly adapt. For myself, having practiced solely via video sessions for over a year, I do not want to go back full time to in person sessions.I miss my colleagues terribly that I shared a suite with, but going forward I know that there is less stress to not having a commute every day, and not contending constantly with all the downtown big city energy. I imagine a future where I split between WFH video sessions and in person office sessions. For many of my clients I imagine they will elect to stay in video sessions if they also continue to work from home. I am still recovering from long haul CoVid so I am not eager to rush to change anything. Psychotherapists (from several disciplines) are currently lobbying to change existing laws to allow nation wide licensing and equal insurance reimbursements for video sessions. These are crucial factors in allowing more Americans access to mental health care. I have sub-specialties with some populations that have limited access to competent care, so given the grave mental health demand in this country, these policy changes are crucial to our national health.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      My daughters (aged 11 and 13) both have therapists. I was initially skeptical about the switch to remote sessions, but they seem to work just fine. That age group is so acculturated to virtual social interactions that extending them to therapy sessions comes naturally to them.

      1. Anonya*

        On the other hand, my 11-year-old’s virtual therapy has not been especially effective. Possibly because his is less talk therapy-based, but let me tell you, I cannot wait to get him back to his therapist’s office in person.

  173. tech issues?*

    I’ve been seriously considering quitting in response to my employer’s new work from home policy. We’ll be in 3 days and home 2 days, which is a huge improvement over where we were before (10 days a year). However, how they presented the plan really rubbed me the wrong way: a flat rule, no manager flexibility, “this is just how it is.” I don’t approach my job that way and especially haven’t while working from home – I’ve been flexible, working more hours, etc. I don’t want to sound like a snowflake, but I want some of the same flexibility I give to my job. More than ever, I think of my job as a mutual partnership and if an employer doesnt treat it that way, I’ll consider looking elsewhere.

  174. SB*

    I feel incredibly lucky to have landed a job (right as COVID was creeping into the United States in March of 2020) that is 100% remote. My husband, on the other hand, has been navigating some tough conversations with his supervisor who frankly led him on a little too much as to the possibility of staying mostly remote (4 days/week) permanently — a job that he can very clearly perform remotely with an occasional day in the office here and there. It now looks like he may only be remote 2 days/week per guidance from the higher-ups, and he’s definitely considering looking for other opportunities if the 60/40 schedule holds.

  175. Lily*

    I am in the minority as someone who generally dislikes working from home. Although not having to commute is nice, the lack of physical boundaries between work and home life has destroyed my mental health. My productivity is excellent because I literally cannot stop myself from working all the time. Things have been better since we moved into an apartment building with designated co-working spaces, but I would probably consider leaving an employer that did not plan to offer some kind of office space after this year.

  176. Mouse*

    My company is trying to figure out what to do. Right now, returning to the office is completely optional, and very few people are coming in. If we were to go fully remote, I would look for something new. I might even consider looking for something new if I’m able to go to the office but nobody else does. For me, the value is being around coworkers and learning from them.

    I also think that people are thinking about other priorities as well. We’ve seen a large number of people resigning to go back to school, change careers, or radically change environments (like going from our small but corporate office to a trendy startup). Now that jobs are more available and other possibilities in the world seem more open, I think we’ll continue to see a wave of people evaluating what they want in their lives and seeking it out.

  177. no_more_office*

    I am actively looking for a job that is full time remote. I wanted to relocate during the pandemic and while we are WFH currently corporate was inflexible with allowing me to do this. They said by Labor Day (in the US) that we will be in the office 3 days a week — I aim to have a new gig before that. I am open to being in the office occasionally, but am looking at primarily WFH positions now. And I definitely want the freedom to move where I’d prefer to be located.

  178. Ali H*

    I would consider searching for a new job if I was told to return to the office full time with no flexibility, as was the norm pre-COVID in my office. My company is a global Fortune-500 company, and there are some employees who did work remotely previously, particularly if they have field or sales-based jobs, but a significant portion of upper management also has flexibility to work from home whenever they want to, which is not afforded to the rest of us.

    My company is currently entertaining the thought of a hybrid approach with so many stipulations that all of the benefits of working from home would disappear. Employees would be required to be in the office on Mondays and Fridays, conform to office dress codes, have no “distracting” pets or children present during work hours, have a designated office space in which to work, etc. This policy, if implemented, would absolutely cause me and several others in my company who I’ve spoken to, to start job hunting. It’s a horrible idea and completely devalues all the work we’ve done remotely (with distracting kids and pets and in sweatpants!) for the last year and a half. It’s a ridiculous way to make it seem as though they’re adapting to the changing work landscape without actually doing any adapting at all, as most people will come into the office to avoid the hassle.

  179. TeaWrecks*

    I would be very tempted to look for a new job. I was already remote 3 days per week before the pandemic, but being at home fully for the past almost 16 months has solidified how much I enjoy it. I am honestly just more productive. My commute is a 30 second walk from my bedroom to my office (and yes, I know I’m lucky enough to have an actual home office which is probably one reason I like this so much!). I get just over an hour extra sleep each morning and work in my pyjamas since I rarely have to ever do video calls. I haven’t had to buy work clothes or shoes and my bank balance has gone up quite a bit (some of that is because we no longer pay for after school care for my youngest since she’s aged out of that, but where I live it was subsidized anyways and a very low cost). I’ve lost about 30 pounds since now I can eat when I’m actually hungry and fresher food instead of packed lunches and snacks only at specified times. In my downtime or breaks I can get the household chores done instead of just browsing websites at work and pretending to be busy, and that also means there’s no huge rush to get stuff done the minute we walk in the door after work and spending the evenings cleaning up.

    Thing is, nothing about my job in particular or those of most of my office requires people to be there in person. We can theoretically do most of what our jobs are pretty much wherever there’s an internet connection. So I know if I’m told that I have to go back in even part time I’ll be asking for an exception – which many people have already. And if I do end up looking for a new job then being fully remote will be something that is super high on my list. It would have to be a super pay hike over what I’m making now and having a private office with a closing door to make me consider a full time in-office job again.

    1. KHB*

      “a private office with a closing door”

      I wonder to what extent this is the deciding factor in who’s coming down on the back-to-the-office side versus the work-from-home side. I have a private office with a closing door at work, and I don’t have one at home, so I’m all about going back to the office – if it were the other way around, I could easily see myself joining Team Work From Home Forever.

      1. Tau*

        If my office mandated 100% WFH, I’d be job searching. I’ve somehow managed through the pandemic but I am a lot less happy and productive at work than I used to be. I need the separation of space and the colleagues around me to be able to focus properly. (I suspect this may be disability-related; I’ve seen people with ADHD saying they have similar issues, and although I don’t to my knowledge have ADHD I am autistic which has some symptom overlap.) I do like the flexibility of being able to WFH a few days a week as needed or for an entire week to support holidays and family visits, but I could also handle a 100% in-office job – I’ve done it before.

        Luckily, although a lot of my colleagues have expressed interest in being able to WFH a few days a week, it’s only a minority who have talked about staying full-time remote. I’ve had a lot of sympathetic “yeah, me too”s when I talk about how much I miss the office and just being able to have casual interactions with people again. But since I’m in an industry that often gets touted as great for remote working, I suspect I’m going to have to be careful in my next job search.

  180. KHB*

    It would take a lot for me to quit my job. There is so much about it that I love: The subject matter itself, the impact it has, the satisfaction of a job well done, the respect I get from my immediate boss and colleagues.

    But my current work-from-home setup is becoming increasingly untenable. My partner and I live together in a one-bedroom apartment, he spends most of the day on loud conference calls, and I need a quiet workspace where I can concentrate. Fortunately, I have an office at work that I can go to most days if I want to; I don’t think they’re planning on taking that option away from me permanently, but if they did, I’d be very unhappy. I’d need to get either an office in a coworking space or a bigger home, and I would push hard to be reimbursed for that.

  181. MrsFillmore*

    Fortunately, my job has always had some flexibility about working from home and will have more flexibility on this in the future even after our office reopens. If I were in a scenario where there was a firm 5 days per week in office requirement, I would definitely look for another job because I know that I’m in a field (nonprofit management) where many of the jobs I’m interested in and qualified for offer greater flexibility.

    I definitely think that work location flexibility will be a consideration for job candidates in the future. My husband has a job now that he likes with good flexibility (likely to be 3 or 4 days work from home post-pandemic). He’s in the process of interviewing for another job that is interesting, but isn’t yet at the point of the process where he has a firm understanding of their work location flexibility. He said yesterday that if he is selected as top candidate in this interview process, even if everything else about the new job aligns ideally with his next step of career growth, he’d only accept if they can ensure at least 2 days per week work from home.

  182. fedupmarketer*

    I’ve always worked in a very in-office industry but since the pandemic I’ve been working from my kitchen and find it really difficult. My company as a whole is going back but my market is going to be 100% WFH for at least the next year, maybe two (for company, not Covid reasons). I immediately began job hunting and got a new position which (Covid permitting) will be a mix. I like my current job and the people and I’m paid well, but it wasn’t worth more than a year of being miserably stuck at home.

  183. SunnyGirl*

    Quit? No. I’ve got a salary and a pension I can’t get elsewhere.

    But we’re in bargaining. When the bargaining survey came out, I stressed the importance of adding work from home language to our collective agreement. After all, we’ve all demonstrated it can be done, even for the receptionist.

  184. Amethystmoon*

    I wouldn’t consider leaving at this point, at least not right away. It looks like we are going to have some sort of hybrid policy. Besides which, it seems like every couple of years we get a new CEO, so the minds of TPTB will be changed eventually.

  185. Epsilon Delta*

    Working from home to me is one part of the equation. It’s not a deal breaker, but it has a lot more weight now than it did two years ago, so the rest of the benefits and job would have to be quite stellar to compensate for losing the ability to work from home, or even going back to the 2019 policy of “once in a blue moon, for a good reason only.”

    That’s not to say I want or need to be 100% remote, but I do now expect some baseline level of being able to work from home on a regular basis just like I expect a certain amount of PTO or health insurance coverage.

  186. Natalie*

    My office is still fully remote (went remote due to the pandemic) so I don’t know what it’ll look like yet…looks like they’ll announce the return to office plans in a month or so. But work from home will absolutely be a big factor in future job searches. Work from home has increased my productivity, health, and work/life balance. I also despise commuting on super crowded buses, which was my reality pre-pandemic. If my current office decides to be ungenerous with work from home, I will start looking to see what other roles are out there that have more work from home days, even though I love my job and co-workers. My ideal would be 3 days WFH/2 days in office per week.

  187. David R.*

    It’s going to be a stronger factor going forward, definitely. I liked being in the office previously, I even chose an apartment with a 10-minute walking commute to my previous job. I ran a weekly end-of-the-week guided beer/cider/mead tasting 5 years straight (and that’s definitely not doable remote).

    But now? I have a sub-specialty I’ve worked my way into. There’s enough companies in my industry around here that I *could* find a role locally. But I’ve had two companies back to back work pretty hard at recruiting/poaching me from out-of-state, with the expectation that they would be 100% remote roles (maybe with some occasional flights back to the home office once that’s reasonable again).

    So I’m not against being in an office, but I’m seeing the writing on the wall and it has me either leaning into my found specialty and casting my net into a pool wide enough to catch the level of company that can use what I do; or staying local and likely falling back to ‘generic’ and having to compete much harder against many more people.

    And at that point it has to be something pretty good to balance that scale, much less make it the preferable option.

  188. Mandi*

    I’m not a fan of working from home full-time, so that’s not a deal breaker for me. But I have decided over the past few months that I am no longer willing to function under an insane level of stress all day, every day. I’m in the middle of a job change now because of that.

  189. Marcey Marketer*

    I like five minutes from the beach and five minutes from my parents, 30 minutes from my husband’s parents. We see both sets every week; my children benefit immensely from having a relationship with their grandparents. We visit the ocean three or four days a week after work or on the weekends. I would never live anywhere else. There are no great jobs by me so I have to work remote. I’ve said many times that I would never consider moving for work, although my company has asked me to. I would quit before I would move– I can easily find another remote job, though it might pay less, or start my own business.

  190. He's just this guy, you know?*

    I landed what I consider to be a dream job a couple of years ago (it’s a long-standing, local company in a very secure industry), so no, I will not be quitting over WFH policies. I’m hoping that we’ll have some flexibility once we return to the office in a few months, but even if we don’t, it won’t be a make or break deal for me. I’ve worked a lot of crappier, more temporary jobs on my way to this one, and I really want to hang on to this one.

  191. Jennifer Strange*

    I work at a theatre, but on the admin side of things. I am very lucky that my job (which previously allowed me to work from home now and then) looks like it will be moving to a hybrid schedule for those who can continue working from home.

    However, if they had told us we had to return to the office full time, I wouldn’t quit, but I would want a discussion about the thought process behind the decision and what factors are considered. It could be that there were very important reasons why they would want us to be in the office to work, especially since there are departments that, by their nature, cannot do their work from home. But if it were just a matter of them thinking “it looks better” or they didn’t want other departments to get jealous, I would definitely consider whether or not I wanted to remain there.

    My productivity has greatly increased since working from home since I am able to give my work my full attention without interruptions (we had an open-office plan and you can hear every conversation that happens) and our Zoom meetings, I think, are more thoughtful and better focused with fewer tangents, since we don’t have the safety net of just turning around to talk to a co-worker as we previously did.

    1. C.P.*

      I also work in a theatre (admin side) and completely agree. However our CEO is very against WFH flexibility. I’m not asking for 100% at home, just the flexibility. Especially now that my husband is WFH full time and we are looking to have children in the future.

  192. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    I have not read all comments, so maybe it’s already been addressed, but I hope that people who WFH realize how privileged they are to be able to do so. I am not saying it’s a privilege that their employer lets us WFH, but that it is typically the more privileged people who have jobs that allow them to WFH. There are many, MANY people who work at jobs that cannot be done remotely, and are essential, and my thoughts are that I’d kinda rather make sure that their working conditions are reasonable and made better before I get myself all worked up because my employer might not let me work from home. Before people pile on, I want to say that absolutely many jobs CAN be done from home, and there’s no reason for people to be in the office, but I honestly can’t see quitting if I cannot work from home. I feel like if the employer/company is good overall, but won’t budge on this one thing, it’s probably not worth quitting over. I just think it’s often a bigger conversation or a bigger thing that we as employees don’t have all the context for. Anyway, there is a LOT more that I could say, but I feel like I’m not making coherent sense, so I’ll just leave this here. Just – in most situations, I cannot see why people are willing to die on this hill. It can/should be part of your consideration in deciding to accept a job or whatever, but I find the entitled attitude of many people (even here in these comments, unfortunately) distasteful. It just feels icky, even though I agree that many jobs can be WFH!

    1. BethRA*

      “I just think it’s often a bigger conversation or a bigger thing that we as employees don’t have all the context for.”

      Don’t have full context for why an employer might want their workforce structured a certain way? Sure. But people do have full context of what they want and what works for THEM. That’s not dying on a hill, that’s re-evaluating your situation (and that includes what your options are and whether the jobs you want can be done remotely – and trust me, I think most people understand that distinction and that even being able ponder WFH is a an option lots of folks don’t have) and making decisions accordingly.

      And I really want to push back on the idea that wanting to advocate for WFH or hybrid arrangements somehow

    2. Chc34*

      The thing is also that people are allowed to choose whatever hills they want to die on in regards to if they want to continue working for their company. If my company puts purple wallpaper in the bathroom and I hate purple so much that I decide I want to find a new job, other people might think that’s weird, but if that’s a hill I want to die on, so be it.

    3. CupcakeCounter*

      I think part of the problem is that in a lot of these cases, the employer isn’t good overall. Good employers will recognize that a WFH/hybrid option is hugely beneficial to many employees and they have proven they can be as or in some cases more effective in their roles without certain stressors. Good employers will properly manage employees who aren’t effective at remote work. Good employers will be up front and clear about why full-time WFH or a hybrid schedule isn’t possible.
      The problem for those of us who do have the ability to WFH is we are being told “because” as the reason for return to work. Or that “we need to be more collaborative” and then I sit at my on-site desk for several weeks and interact with almost no one because I’m an accountant. Not an overly collaborative role. The one person I talked to the other day, a customer service rep, wishes we would all get out of the office again. The people talking and chatting are distracting and makes it harder for her to talk with clients on the phone. When we were gone, she and the other CSR’s spread out and moved to desks farther away from each other. While some probably would have loved to WFH they understood that their jobs weren’t ideal for it and appreciated the quiet and the extra space to distance.
      I was laid off in May of 2020 and when I was interviewing for my current job, they told me that everyone was working from home. The second I signed the offer letter, they said “oh well training can’t be done remotely so you have to come in”. I have an older child – doesn’t need constant supervision but can’t be home alone for 8-10 hours a day – so had to scramble for child care at the last minute during a pandemic (last July). I caught on quickly but then they said it wasn’t a remote position so I once again had to figure something out until school started. They’ve been yanking us back and forth for nearly a year now. In most cases, the WFH thing is more an indication of other issues in the company. Which is why my last day here is in 2 weeks.

    4. J.B.*

      Even for those of us who are privileged, we don’t necessarily have good setups for two adults. I like many moms had to scramble to get a workable setup and I would be more comfortable in the future if I could use the home office, not a side desk in the bedroom.

    5. citygirl*

      This comment makes me feel icky. The outrageous costs of childcare and the inability of companies to support disabilities or chronic health concerns are widespread issues which WFH reasonably addresses. One group of employees advocating for themselves at work does not negate other employees doing the same. This is some capitalist thinking here – instead of thinking that one group of employees is getting pitted against another, why not think about all employees having leverage to advocate for their needs against the employer. WFH employees are not the reason essential workers are treated like shit. Fight the real enemy here.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Couldn’t you say the same thing about anything else at work — like that it’s entitled to leave a job over money when other people earn less, or entitled to leave a job over boring work when other people have more difficult jobs? We don’t generally consider those things entitled, so why this? I suspect it’s just that it’s new to see WFH put in the same category as other things a reasonable person might leave over … but it’s really not entitled to decide you prefer the working conditions being offered by another company. (And if there weren’t plenty of companies offering this, people wouldn’t be leaving their jobs over it — but the point is that it’s suddenly a thing that’s much easier to find, and people would like to do so. Why is it entitled to change jobs, when the thing you want is suddenly a lot more plentiful?)

      1. Monty & Millie's Mom*

        I’m not sure why, exactly. What I was trying to say – and not doing it well! – is that it can/should be a consideration, much like benefits/wage/office culture/etc. and everyone can make their own decision on it, but it’s just one part of the package. I think it’s striking me as “entitlement” so much because some people are so very strident about it in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen about other things, and again, most jobs that can be WFH are office jobs that some don’t have real access to. I’m not trying to fight about it or say anyone is wrong for wanting to WFH, but I just see some comments/opinions that are striking me as much more…….angry?……than the usual we get here. It just makes me a little uncomfortable and I realize that’s just my own thing and no one else’s problem, but the level of anger and emotion just seems disproportionate for something that is just a part of the overall picture.

        All that said, I realize I have a lot to say about a lot of stuff but not a way to condense things concisely here, so while I stand by my statement, I will say that it’s just my opinion, and I hope that people realize that it’s not an attack on anyone!

      2. Monty & Millie's Mom*

        Okay, maybe I can clarify a bit better. A business/employer/company doesn’t owe its workers the opportunity to WFH, and some of the comments seem like the employee feels it is owed to them, and that is what is rubbing me the wrong way. It’s possible )and even likely?!) that the commenters don’t actually think like that but instead just mean to say it is a very big factor for them, but it’s coming across badly to me. That’s all! I’m guessing that some people actually DO feel like it’s owed to them to be able to WFH b/c they want to, but I suspect that’s a pretty small percentage! So basically my fault for focusing on that small percentage, I guess!

  193. Hamburke*

    I think that it would depend on the job. I had a fully remote job some time ago that was very isolating – everyone stayed in their towers, working on their own schedule, and there was very little interaction since everything was pretty much followed in the project management software – I was assigned tasks and marked them complete without talking to anyone unless there was an issue or change in scope. After the initial meet-and-greet, I think I had 1 or 2 team meetings the year that I was there. I left it for an office job where there was a warm, collaborative atmosphere. That office job went remote in March 2020 and it looks like we’re staying that way (always the owner’s vision but this made it happen). We have biweekly team meetings with a limited amount of social time built in and it’s not uncommon to call or video chat/screen share with a teammate fairly regularly.

    I do share dedicated office space with my husband (this is not a change – he’s been fully remote for years) so I have a bit of in-person social interactions during the day as well.

  194. Never Sleeping Beauty*

    I started my job in January with an employer who I’ve worked with before but who had pre-pandemic been opposed to work from home. Obviously with COVID that changed so when they asked me to come back I said yes, on the condition that I also be part time because it would be cost-prohibitive to work full time and need childcare. Our CEO recently indicated he might ask people to come back to the office, and if I did that I’d be making less money because I’d have to work less hours so I can get home in time for my spouse to go to work. So I would definitely push back on that, but I don’t know yet if I’m going to have to. For now, I just keep trying to show that I can be reliable and productive when not in the office. I’m not opposed to going into the office once in awhile, but if it was a regular thing, at this stage in my life that would be a problem.

  195. Trivia Newton-John*

    Absolutely.

    Pre-COVID our organization never allowed staff to WFH for any reason.

    Once we very abruptly shut down and were sent home, we had to use our own laptops, phones and other equipment to connect remotely. (Management got firm laptops) We were given no stipends to purchase any office chairs, extra monitors, etc. AND we were told no overtime and given a 10% pay cut (since restored). There wasn’t really any engagement or concern over staff from management in our office, or anyone from our home office (according to the rest of the staff in my office) this entire time. Staff checked in with each other.

    I have been the only admin going in this entire time, usually for my team but also to cover for the office. I’ve done this 3 or 4 times a month (sometimes more frequently) which works well, as I can accomplish some things easier from there (because high speed scanner/copier is there) but the resentment is growing very strong with me for several reasons.

    We don’t have any need to “collaborate” in my position. Throughout this time, Management On High has repeatedly stated how impressed they are with how productive everyone is. No catastrophes have happened. We have consistently met and even exceeded expectations. We are all able to (mostly) do our job from home. We all feel that we are more productive, more efficient and we are able to manage our time a lot easier while still working our stated hours.

    No one in my (branch) office wants to go back full time – we all want hybrid.
    But, our Home Office in the South, who is moving into Fancy New Digs is determined that all offices go back slowly over the summer and are there 5x a week after Labor Day. They haven’t said whether we can continue any sort of WFH when we return to the office. The managing partner submitted a plan for our office, which was promptly ignored and he’s submitting a second proposal this week to see if we can get anywhere.

    All of the other offices in my metro area that are comparable to mine (some bigger, some smaller) are going back later than us, and on a hybrid schedule. Why wouldn’t I want to go to a company that offers that, and also gives me a firm laptop for that matter, if I have that option? After this past year, seeing what other colleagues around the country have done in similar companies/roles have done, and what my company has done, I am actively looking if my company doesn’t change their mind.

  196. Daisy-dog*

    Maybe. I started my job early in the pandemic. I have not had a “normal” work schedule in the office. The latest that I have heard is that I will be expected to be in the office 3 days/week. I don’t know how that will feel. I am not particularly looking forward to having to get ready, leave my dog, commute in awful traffic, and be under fluorescent lights with uncontrollably cold temperatures for 9 hours/day. But maybe it will be worthwhile once I get in the routine. Or maybe I will be able to arrange for more flexibility if I am miserable. If not, then I would consider leaving for a fully remote role.

    I currently enjoy working from home because my entire day is no longer about work. I don’t have to prepare all my meals and snacks the night before. I don’t need to wake up earlier to take care of my dog and fix my hair & make-up. I don’t need to drive anywhere. I get to do chores or lay down on my lunch break. I can start my work-out right when I clock out.

    I want to add that prior to Covid I was extremely burnt out and being away from home for 10-11 hours/day was not helping. I do fear having those same feelings again.

  197. Kent Clark*

    I hated working from home and when my company announced that it was giving up our office space and it would be permanent I did quit. Since most of the industry is moving towards permanent work from home I moved into an adjacent industry where working from home / accessing work outside of work is not physically possible. My manager didn’t understand why I quit and I ended up not working my notice period because she wouldn’t leave it alone. I did like my old job (there for 12 years) and industry before work from home. I’ve been in my new job for 3 months and even with the pandemic restrictions in place I’m so much happier. I know it is the opposite for most people but the separation between work and home is the best thing for me.

  198. Vox Experientia*

    i work in a large IT department within a larger non technical org. senior leadership is non technical, but the workforce is very technical. the majority of people have been working from home during the pandemic and things have been moving along very well, with productivity high. upper management is very anti-work from home. they dont see the value, and worry about the few slackers wfh and not producing. i think the fundamental disconnect is a lack of understanding of the responsibilities of middle management. if people are not contributing commiserate with their pay rate, it’s the responsibility of middle management to monitor and act on that, regardless of wfh or in office. lousy employees goofing off at home who are required to come to the office are still going to be lousy goof offs. and none of them will leave. exceptional and highly productive wfh staff forced to return to work are going to be unhappy and start to look for work elsewhere (it’s already happening). so the end result is – your lousy people stay, and your good people start to leave. forcing return to work instead of just requiring middle management to correctly manage their people is a bad policy. that’s the piece we can’t get senior leadership to understand.

    1. Girasol*

      Managers who need to see people working in the office to know that they’re not slacking are the ones who are so often duped by workers who make a big show of how very busy they are and how many roadblocks they’re dealing with, while getting nothing done.

  199. C.P.*

    My current employer is slowing transitioning back into the office. (2 day/week in July, 3 days/week in August, full time after Labor Day) our CEO is very against WFH flexibility. Even though every employee has expressed that they would like that flexibility. If it does not change I will leave and find somewhere that will be flexible, with planning for children in next year.

  200. Phantom*

    I started my current job right after the start of the pandemic. I was pretty reluctant about the hour long commute when I applied, and I learned early on that working from home even one day a week wasn’t going to be an option. But, by the time I had an offer, it was clear that there would be no open office to go into for at least a couple months. Thankfully, my employer has done a complete 180 and has said that no one needs to go in ever. If that were not the case, I’d probably at least try commuting for a bit before starting a job search. But, I’d probably start exploring my options anyway.

    Honestly, the surge in remote work has me looking for financial reasons. Although we’re hiring remote people now, our salaries are still pegged to our low cost of living area, so hiring has gotten very difficult. It’s hard to keep losing good candidates over money and to not start looking for a higher salary yourself. If I’m going to be working remotely anyway, there’s not much reason for me to favor an employer in my area over one in an area where salaries are higher.

  201. Xenia*

    My company did a really solid job at WFH support—sent everyone the equipment they needed, including the new interns, had some virtual meet and greets to try and lessen the strain of never seeing anyone, and did a good job of making the workflow smooth. I still think that I would ultimately lose it if I had to work from home full time. The isolation was terrible for my mental and physical health and didn’t help my work ethic much either. So if they announced that they would be going fully work from home I wouldn’t be able to stay.

  202. Mel*

    I just did! At the beginning of 2021 I learned that my company would have a “strong preference” for local employees to come back to the office. I started job hunting that week and just started a great position that’s fully remote. I respect an employer’s right to have employees where they want, but that comes with the employee’s right to work how they want.

  203. Justin*

    I don’t think I can financially, but because I’m planning a new path once I finish my doctorate, will probably just suck it up from, like, September to next year, provided there’s any flexibility at all.

  204. Mallory Janis Ian*

    I wouldn’t take a job that could NEVER be done from home (like for occasions such as needing to meet a repairman or the dog had surgery or various one-off circumstances), but I don’t want to be full-time remote, either.

    I’ve been remote for over a year, and it was fine at first, but my productivity has been gradually slipping away as I become more tired of working from home. I have a good set-up, too (separate home office room, nice desk exclusively for my use, Aeron chair from office, and all the computer and A/V equipment I needed provided by my work). So my working conditions are as ideal as they can possibly be, but I just am not thriving with the mixing of home and work.

    All the cues that make me feel productive (other people around me also working) are gone, and all the cues that I should be relaxing and enjoying myself (husband relaxing and enjoying himself) are present. I hate having to make myself work when I want to be relaxing, and I’m not even lazy. I’m perfectly fine working when all the cues say “Work”, but I hate working when all the cues say, “Relax and have fun”.

    1. Anonya*

      You articulated this really well. This is exactly how I feel. Apparently my brain is really, really bad at switching between home mode and work mode. I have a good setup, have set boundaries on when to work and not work, all of that jazz. But I seriously hate this.

  205. Higher Ed Library Chick*

    My job was full-time in office before the pandemic and I never questioned it — I felt stressed all the time with two kids under 5 and both parents working full time, but I just figured this was life and I’d have to deal. In general, I liked my job and I was grateful for what flexibility I had. Then Covid happened and I was suddenly full time remote. I got so much of my time back — now I could switch over the laundry or empty the dishwasher during the day, so when the kids got home in the evening I could enjoy them and not feel like I was scrambling. My whole weekends were no longer tied up with running errands or cleaning the house or meal prep, because I could do those things in small increments during the week — I could actually relax on my weekends for once. Now that the pandemic’s over, my employer is really pushing for everyone to come back to the office full time, for what seem like really flimsy reasons. I want to come back 3 days a week with 2 days a week WFH, but it sounds like they won’t allow it. I don’t want to go back to the way things were. If they force me to come back without any WFH options, I’m going to start looking for another job.

    1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      You’ve pointed out some great things. Like stepping away for 5 minutes to load laundry or let the repairman in. Someone up thread mentioned saving $ on groceries and work clothes, car maintenance and insurance. Our top management asked us for a list of pro’s for WFH to help them push back against the ones trying to recall us. These kind of things, and things like using sick/vacation days due to kids being out of school, less paper waste due to more work being converted to PDF and Excel were all mentioned.

      1. Higher Ed Library Chick*

        See, at least in my case, I think a lot of those “pro’s” wouldn’t matter to our management because they’re considered “personal reasons.” A higher up admin said the other day that he didn’t think “because I want to” should be a good enough reason to WFH. I think my best chance is to talk about the work-related pro’s — like the ability to work on projects that require a high degree of concentration without interruption, to be able to record video or teach webinars in a quieter environment, etc. Maybe if I can make a business case for it, I can make it happen, but if I’m relying on the mental health benefits, being able to load laundry, etc., I’m pretty sure the answer will be no.

  206. SentientAmoeba*

    I was working from home 2 days a week before the pandemic so the shift to 100% remote was easy for me. I did end up having to buy a much bigger desk to accommodate the additional reference materials etc. that I keep on hand but that was more personal preference than true need. At this point, I am looking to transition to being in office 1 day a week. Ironically, I will get less done on in office days because factoring in commute time, less privacy compared to my home office, less work space, more distractions and having to take longer breaks to grab a bite etc. it will be a net loss. But them’s the breaks.

  207. Yellow*

    I would not quit over being forced back to the office full time, but my company’s decision to allow us flexibility in WFH/WF Office will certainly play into my decision to NOT job search any time in the near future.

  208. Accounting Otaku*

    I actually had a breakdown over the first part of lockdown from the isolation the 100% WFH set up caused me. I could not do a job that was 100% remote. My team was called back to the office full-time before any of us were comfortable doing so. I was both eager to go back and upset it was too soon. We were called back in early May of 2020 for reference. I needed the structure of the office to protect me from the distractions at home. That being said, when I started this new job in November with their hybrid model, I absolutely love it. I cannot imagine going back to 100% in office work again.
    This set up has increased my reliability so much. I take less sick days because I can just log on from home and get what I need done for the day. I can actually schedule days off and use them for what I want instead of keeping days in reserve for when I don’t feel well. I have the structure of the office when I need to be really productive. I can actually make the connections I need to at work without feeling siloed. I am in this job for the long haul and this policy is a large part of it. A company being 100% on-site or 100% remote will be a deal-breaker for me going forward. I have to have the flexibility.

  209. AnnieM*

    I anticipate my company will make us come back to the office 5 days/week at some point after Labor Day (everyone at my office is fully vaccinated – my employer required it). I don’t anticipate I’ll quit my job over this in the short-term, but I do think it will prompt me to leave sooner than I would have otherwise, say in one year instead of two or three. My workplace is fairly dysfunctional, but I’m paid well and working from home 2-3 days per week keeps me sane, so the trade-offs are currently worth it for me. I’ll have to re-evaluate once I’m back in the office full time. However, I know at least three coworkers who will likely begin an active job search if they’re required to be in person everyday.

    I’m also watching how my company handles remote work on a case-by-case basis, and if they can come up with a fair policy. For someone like me who lives close to the office, they are more likely to be rigid about in-office requirements based on past experience. Coworkers who live an hour or more from the office may be able to go on working remotely part time, even if they were here 5 days before Covid. If the company begins making exceptions only for people who drive far, I expect there will be revolt among the locals.

  210. code red*

    WFH is not my hill to die on. Granted, I’m overall happy with my company and they’ve handled the entire pandemic as well as they could (especially reading all the horror stories from other companies). They supported all employees (not just parents) with flexible schedules (as long as we attended mandatory meetings and gave them a heads-up about approximate times we’d be reachable), didn’t require cameras to be turned on, allowed us back in office when we’re ready (not when management is), had virtual happy hours occasionally that were 100% optional.

    Some coworkers have started going back in a couple days a week, including the boss, but it’s been made clear that returning to the office is entirely dependent on when we feel comfortable doing so. I’m not sure if or when they’ll decide we must go in if we’re local. Pre-pandemic we were expected to go in the office if we lived locally, but were allowed to WFH if sick (well enough to work, but not wanting to infect co-workers), had sick kids home, were expecting a package, etc.

    TBH I’d probably prefer to remain remote for the most part if they continue giving us the option. Mainly because my team lead isn’t local and I’m usually on calls with them randomly throughout the day. Having to go jump in an empty office or conference room every time that happens sounds like a pain.

    1. areyoumymother*

      I think how companies have handled this is so key. In my friend group, those whose offices did remote work poorly, remain too rigid, or treated staff poorly during the pandemic are losing staff. Not necessarily because people don’t want to return to the office, but because of the rigidity around the return.

      1. code red*

        Yes, I agree. My company understands we’re human and have lives and other stuff going on and that comes across so clearly in how they treat us. Last job we were just faceless workers expected to put the company first (not all supervisors were like that but all upper management was, so there was only so much the supervisors could do). I can’t imagine they handled the pandemic in a way that would’ve kept me there had I not already left.

  211. areyoumymother*

    I left my job a little over a month ago and am actively job hunting. The job I left was fully remote (I’ve been remote off and on over the past 10 years), but they did remote work really poorly. I felt isolated and lonely. I felt like there was no mentorship or room to learn from peers. I was working across time zones and suddenly my workday was stretched from typical work hours to days that started at 6am and ended at 10pm. It was a rough year at that job.

    So I put in my notice.

    I’m still looking for roles that are either remote or hybrid. But I’m much more selective. I honestly care less about actually being remote and more about the flexibility that remote affords. I’m a single mom. Flexible work allowed me to minimize daycare costs (due to no commute) and allows us to live in a lower cost of living area. If it was not for my previous remote roles my career would not be where it is today.

    However, HOW a company handles remote or hybrid roles matters a lot and I’ve learned to ask probing questions during the interview stage to weed out “remote” places that allow people to work from home, but that don’t do that very well.

  212. The Other Dawn*

    Prior to the pandemic, I was in-office full time with a very occasional WFH day. At the time I was fine with that.

    When the pandemic started and we were all sent home, I absolutely hated it; however, there were several factors. I’d just had major back surgery and was recovering during the early pandemic; I was coming off pain meds I’d been on for a year and I wasn’t physically ready or mentally prepared for that; I didn’t have a home office; and I’d never worked from home for more than a few days at a time. But now I’ve grown to prefer working from home. I’ve loved the convenience of being at home and not having to commute, being able to run an errand here and there, take care of appointments for the various health issues that have popped up in the last year, and just being able to be much more flexible than I was before.

    But my company has decided to go hybrid, with a 50/50 split between home and office (the C-suite had to fight for it, though). At first I was upset–we all were–because our department is siloed and doesn’t need to be in the office at all. That said, I’ve grown used to the idea and now that we’re starting hybrid in a couple weeks, I find myself looking forward to a change of scenery twice a week.

    As to whether I’d leave or not, if the company takes away hybrid, yes, I’d absolutely leave. And if I happened to find another job that was comparable and at the same rate of pay, but it was 100% WFH, I’d leave for that job. I think my team members would, too, after having a taste of WFH. I think that’s where companies who are in-office only (when it’s not really necessary) are going to lose their competitive advantage. If people can work at a company that’s hybrid or 100% WFH, with the same job and same pay, why would they stay at a company that’s completely in-office?

  213. T. J. Juckson*

    Yes. I am actively looking for a new position, and WFH or, at the very least, a hybrid schedule, is high on my list of priorities. At this point, I will not take a job that does not offer some remote flexibility.

    I had to go back the very first day it was permitted for non-essential employees in NYC, so I’ve been in the office since last June (excepting the week when I worked remotely because my boss and his wife tested positive and didn’t bother to tell me, which is a bit of a problem since I work out of an office in their apartment).

    I used to be willing to work longer hours or extra days when needed (I am part-time), but since my employer’s is not flexible, I am not either, anymore.

  214. Love WFH*

    I work in IT. I will start looking for another job if my employer requires us to go back to the office — and judging by the number of recruiters I’m hearing from, a new job won’t be hard to find. I wouldn’t mind doing something like one day in the office every two weeks or so.

    Before the shutdown, I could WFH one day per week. I am loving working entirely remotely! My commute isn’t a terrible one, but eliminating it really adds up in time!

    It was delightful not getting colds last winter — I know the bus and office were the source of those.

    I have arthritis, and WFH allows me to migrate from desk to recliner and manage pain much better than an office environment.

    I’ve saved a lot of money on transportation, dressier clothes, and buying lunch. Bus passes alone come to $1,200 for the year.

    My software development team is more productive than ever. Four people were hired during the shutdown, and we had no trouble with training them and them fitting in happily.

    We have some people in India, and one who lives in another state. The most we can do is hybrid. Hybrid is frankly worse for communication that fully remote is. When everyone is remote, all communication takes that into account. With hybrid, the remote folks miss information that the people in the office are sharing. Anyone who has been in a meeting where everyone is wearing a headset knows how much better that is them when you’re trying to hear people speak in a conference room that has a speaker phone. It’s really difficult when you’re remote and they’re writing on a white board.

  215. Liv*

    Luckily my workplace is going hybrid from September. The guidance for my type of role is ‘2-3 days in the office per week’, but my department has said it will be at managers’ discretion to find a balance that works best for each individual. They’re not allowing total WFH yet, but have said they’ll be revisiting in 2022.

    The 2-3 days in the office per week is ideal for me. I probably wouldn’t leave my job if they’d reverted to our previous WFH policy (which was 1 day a week at home if we wanted it), but it’s definitely factor into my longer-term career planning. I think I would leave if it was to become 100% remote as I do miss my colleagues and the organic conversations/brainstorming/problem solving/general venting that happens in the office. The key to me is giving employees the flexibility they want and trusting us to work how we see fit.

  216. Not So Super-visor*

    I’ve already seen 1 resignation over our plans to return after Labor Day, and I will suspect that we will see more. I have no power to negotiate it as VP has declared a return to office. It just all comes at a bad time — we’re in the middle of a merger, and our office was the only office to let this category of employee work from home (essential business!). New VP is absolutely appalled that we allowed it at all, so he has no sympathy.

    Personally, I don’t work well from home, and I work best when I am around other people. I don’t know that I would have quit if we’d decided to be 100% remote, but I think that my performance would have struggled.

  217. Data Analyst*

    I interviewed for this job in March 2020 so it was intended to be on-site but I’ve never been to the office, and now I get to work remotely permanently (but could have chosen to be full time on-site or hybrid). I am thrilled to be WFH – I really wanted this job and the commute was the only thing I wasn’t excited about. If they had required me to come back, I would not have quit, but mostly because the other benefits are so good. We work slightly longer days in exchange for every other Friday off. We have a pension (in addition to a 401k with match). My team is great. Without those factors I would be much more likely to look for another remote job if I had to go in.

  218. gbca*

    I feel fortunate that my company’s approach to WFH/flexibility is very aligned with my wishes, but if it wasn’t I’d definitely be looking elsewhere. I have been WFH for the past 15 months along with all non-onsite-essential employees at my company. We are about to be allowed to return to office on a completely opt-in basis. The long run plan is that most people will be in the office to some degree, but there will be a high level of flexibility in terms of days/week people are expected to be in the office. Personally I’m really over WFH and am looking forward to in-person interaction again, but with young kids I also strongly value flexibility, so the overall plan works well for me.

  219. Persephone Mulberry*

    I have always, always believed that that I don’t have the self-discipline to work from home, so the last 15 months have been stressful to say the least. Turns out, learning (just in the past two months or so) that I have ADHD and learning how to work with my brain instead of against it has had a huge positive impact on my at-home productivity. I did return to the office when we reopened at the beginning of June but I’m surprised to realize that while I enjoy the casual camaraderie and water cooler chitchat of “the office,” I actually do miss the quiet productivity of my home office (not to mention the easy access to a full kitchen and my feline companions). I love my job and my company and I have no plans to leave regardless of what they may decide about working from home in the future, but if and when the day comes that it’s time for me to explore new opportunities, work from home options will go in the “pro” column instead of the “con.”

  220. SheLooksFamiliar*

    I’ve been mostly-to-all WFH for the past 15+ years. I manage my work well, and I’ve been told I’m also good at managing remote teams. Since I returned to consulting, I’m grateful to have more WFH options than some folks do. I don’t mind going onsite for a monthly staff meeting, or once in a while just to spend time with my colleagues. Still:

    Last fall I worked on a project with a huge, global company. The Program Director knew I lived 75 miles away and said WFH wasn’t a problem, most of the team was WFH. In January, US Operations went to one week onsite/one week off. I live in the Chicago area and that commute would be cumbersome, even in good weather. The Program Director said I was not an employee and thus exempt from the requirement, then they backtracked.

    I landed 2 new projects fairly quickly and gave notice to sever the arrangement. The PD was a little surprised I’d leave a Fortune 50 company over a commute, but ~4 hours round trip? Nope.

  221. aubrey*

    My company has been 100% remote for several years now, and a new job would have to be truly amazing in every possible way for me to consider full-time office work again. I love working from home. Commuting in particular just drains all my energy, but I dislike most things about working in an office.

    However, it’s much easier to be remote when the whole company is remote or hybrid, especially as a new employee. And I have a good home office setup and live alone – it would be way different if I was working in my bedroom or kitchen table or sharing space with others.

  222. Women Who Die On Rocks*

    If I had to work from home full time in my current situation, I would look for another job. Working from home has been hell on my mental health, physical health, and my productivity. And short of building a second bedroom with a workstation just as good as my office, and getting a generator for power outages (I live on an island with shitty infrastructure), there would be no way to make it work. If I could work from home well, I would definitely have chosen a different career, perhaps as a graphic design contractor instead of a finance worker.

  223. ThatGirl*

    I like having flexibility. I like having the option to WFH on Mondays, or when the weather is bad, or if a service person is coming (cable, repair, whatever). I appreciate companies that recognize flexibility like that is important.

    I started at this company in January, and prior to the pandemic, they were very old school, butts-in-seats sort of place. But when they had to adapt, they discovered it worked pretty well for most people/departments. Now there is still flexibility and discretion about when you come in/when you stay home, but they are encouraging folks to be here a few days a week if possible. So right now I’m WFH on Mondays, coming in Tues-Thurs and some Fridays. But I also am lucky to live very close to the office; if commute were a big issue it would change the equation.

  224. Wats*

    It depends on the job, but I would strongly prefer to stay remote. In my current work, 90% of my team including my boss, isn’t even in the same city as me. So, I would be coming in to work with only a couple people while still having to set up everything as remote.

    In my previous job, I might have been okay with going back. I loved my team and are still close to a few people. I do miss them.

    But, I had a child during the pandemic and having the ability to spend so much time with them is irreplaceable to me. We’ve been able to keep the household (and our sanity) in great shape because of the flexibility it’s offered. I’ll never forget that.

  225. Bigglesworth*

    I would most likely leave if my employer asked me to start coming into the office every day. I was hired fully remote and then moved about an hour away from my employer’s office space.

    Although I understand as a new attorney that there can be quite a bit of good feedback during the day if I’m in the office, my boss and I are in the phone pretty constantly throughout the day regarding client matters, updates, and feedback and it’s quite a bit like having someone just drop into my office. She’s a former solo who is expanding her practice and wants to appeal to attorneys with a variety of benefits, so it’s been nice to be a part of the discussion as to what appeals to me.

  226. SnapCat*

    I just changed jobs from a pre-COVID hybrid model (generally in the office, but highly flexible about WFH) to a 100% remote role. I’m generally happy and productive working remotely, but I do miss the social elements of being in an office – happy hours, impromptu conversations, dressing up, etc. – especially after being stuck at home for so long! It’s also been harder to get to know my new colleagues with everyone remote, or to feel as integrated here as I was in my old role (though I was at my old company for 4 years, compared to just 6 months here, so it’s not a fair comparison.) Going forward, I don’t think I could ever take a role that was 100% in office with no flexibility, but I’d probably be happiest with a 2/3 split.

  227. MoinMoin*

    The pros/cons balance has drastically shifted. I was really happy with my company’s Covid response and discussions about returning to work leaned towards flexibility and hybrid schedules, which I was really excited about. Then…. just an email that everyone is back in the office. Departments are still allowed flexibility but for my department it’s working out with the same pitfalls of unlimited PTO policies- without setting a guideline the perception of actually using the benefit feels like you’re being lazy, and when people do stay home there’s grumbling about whether they’re working (which- hello!! You’ve been working at home for the last year plus! Are you telling me something about that?). There’s also resentment from people that can’t do their jobs from home, and I empathize with that, but it’s the nature of work. I work in finance/accounting and I’m usually the only one working around Christmas to finalize year-end stuff. Things aren’t always fair.
    I do think there are pluses to coming into the office for me, but that can easily be achieved with a hybrid schedule, and I do intend to push for that. I’ve hinted but haven’t outright asked because a current project means that I really do need to be in the office everyday at the moment, but this is rare and temporary. Still, I worry I’m like a frog in boiling water and without making a stink now it will be harder to push for later. An added wrinkle to this is that I’m currently pregnant and we’d talked a lot about my plans on being out and returning, which hinged on a fair amount of flexibility. This adds an extra layer of urgency and importance to me, but I resent even having to bring it up as a reason. I can do my job well from home and throughout the pandemic I showed flexibility by coming into the office whenever it was needed, often with no notice. I expected that to be reciprocated to some degree. I may not leave right away as I see how maternity leave and returning works out, but if the expectation is that my role is office only it will be the deciding factor in how satisfied I am in the job and how willing I am to stay.

  228. Annie*

    I’ve been at a fully remote company since early 2019. The difference this made in my life was astonishing. My previous job was a butt-in-seat, old-school company with leadership that thought they were progressive because they put a foosball table in the lunch room (which could only be used on designated lunches and breaks, of course). EVERYTHING was a hassle: getting sick, vet appointments, dentist appointments, having a contractor come to the house, etc. With a WFH flex-schedule, the stress of these everyday things that everyone must deal with was gone. In exchange, I give my employer my all, happily. This means that on the rare evening all hell breaks loose at work, I’m there in heartbeat ready to do what it takes to get the job done with no accompanying resentment. So it benefits me, it benefits them, and literally no one loses (except my last company, which lost me! :) )

    I would never, ever consider going back to an office environment, especially one like my previous employer fostered, unless I was desperate for employment (and then, I’d job hunt and leave immediately as soon as I found something remote).

    Companies that are not giving serious thought to accommodating employee desires in this regard are going to quickly find themselves doing some soul-searching, I hope.

  229. MechanicalPencil*

    I’m not sure I’d leave my job if I had to return to the office, but it would definitely be something to put in the “con” column of staying, in addition to my company’s lack of WFH setup support. I’m actually taking home less money now since I’ve had to up my internet service, buy items to make working at home more convenient, etc. If a stipend of some sort was given to compensate for upped utility usage, that would be greatly appreciated. Or even just a flat “here’s $X, use it as you will”. At this point, anything is better than the nothing I’ve gotten.

  230. Brainstorming*

    I just experienced this situation. After months of telling our team we would be allowed to stay flexible/remote through the foreseeable future, our overarching organization came through with a mandate requiring a return to the office full time this summer. For me, the mental health benefits associated with being able to be flexible, even if not every day, outweighed the return to the office. After consulting with my supervisor and HR to confirm that no flexibility was going to be allowed, I turned in my noticed with the intent of my last day being the Friday before return to work kicked off. Three days later, I was told that I my position could be accommodated as a remote role permanently.

    In no way was I trying to play chicken with my employer, and I was prepared to leave (in fact, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of staying after coming to terms with resigning!) and do all I could to endure a smooth transition. It was very encouraging to see that they recognized my worth as an employee and the quality of work that has been provided from home. I’m sure the transition will not be perfect, but I am delighted to continue my remote work and will gladly go in to the office for larger meetings and events moving forward.

    Many of my friends are facing similar situations right now, and I am encouraged that many of us (elder millennial age group, haha!) are willing to speak up and even make uncomfortable choices that feel less “secure” (that 9-5 life with benefits is, if anything, comfortable) to ensure an overall balanced lifestyle.

  231. Martha Marcy May Marlene*

    I found a new job and resigned from my current one because my company decided to stay with work from home only. I despised working from home and I won’t work any job where it is a thing, unless I’m in a dire situation.

  232. sam_i_am*

    I don’t plan to leave my job in the near future (I love it!). This won’t be a make-or-break thing for me, but I think it will weigh on my decision in the future. On top of working from home itself, I think it’s a sign of overly restrictive employers/HR policies. I don’t think working from home full-time works very well, but flexibility is something I value.

    It’s tough because, working for a large employer, balancing the fact that some of us can easily work remotely while others simply cannot due to their job requirements is tough. Something to note is that I also make less-than-market-salary, but the culture of my team and the benefits are more important to me than that. So taking away a benefit I could get elsewhere would be a factor.

    My psychologist also said they would support me pursuing accommodations for hybrid work if possible, but that wouldn’t fix the feeling that the larger employer (not my team) is being overly bureaucratic.

    My feelings are still mixed because I don’t know how I’ll feel once I’m back in the office. I could end up wanting to go back more-or-less full time!

    This is all speculation, though. There’s a good chance I’ll never end up leaving. I would probably be a fairly good candidate for working at a FAANG or similar company, but my team is amazing, committed to equity, has a number of queer people (including team leadership) which makes it easier to be out without fear, and is doing work I think is important.

  233. lazimpat*

    Yes, I was going to quit if I had been required to return to the office. My company is a niche industry based in a very remote small town. I left town in March 2020 when everyone was sent home to work (whether I had permission to leave is unclear; an email was sent out after I left stating that all employees were required to remain in town/in state for the duration of the time we were working from home). After a few months of living elsewhere, I realized that I didn’t want to live in that town again and that I was willing to risk leaving my job if I was required to return. My salary is less than half of market rate in my current role, which made it easier to take this risk than it would have if my pay was higher; if I had to leave I was pretty sure that eventually I would find a much higher paying job and that would allow me recoup any financial losses pretty quickly. Although it took nearly 7 months for the decision to be made, I’m really grateful that my company ultimately decided to make my role fully remote and to set things up so I could work from a different state (which required more work from the company than I expected). While I now pay state income taxes (my company is based in a state with no income tax), my current state has a higher minimum wage threshold than my previous pay and I received a 4% raise to meet that threshold; the raise kind of pays for the new taxes, meaning that I still take home the same amount as I did before I moved. A win for my company is that they now have 4 remote employees in my new state and the company is finding it easier to recruit for roles now that they have some remote opportunities.

  234. RCrease*

    I’m looking to fill some positions and it’s been exceedingly difficult to attract any candidates, much less quality candidates, with our no-flexibility policies. We have lost out on multiple quality people to competitors with more attractive workplace policies around flexibility. The companies that refuse to adapt are going to feel the effects of this in the coming months and it’s not going to be a good thing, unfortunately. I myself am looking aggressively to move to a 100% remote position and I’m far from the only one in my company to leave over the outdated “butts in seats” mentality.

  235. Noriko*

    I was considering it if I didn’t like my company’s new post-pandemic WFH policies. I started the job remotely and apparently they were a company that claimed they could never function remotely and were hugely inflexible prior to COVID, so I was quite apprehensive.

    Thankfully, it’s going to be a requirement of 6-8 days/month in the office which is acceptable to ideal for me (especially if we can work remote in the mornings and afternoon to avoid rush hour). I like getting to know my coworkers and doing large planning meetings in person but I find I am more productive at home because it’s more relaxed. Sometimes in the office I would find excuses not to work.

  236. Anon for this*

    I might be tempted. The problem is that I’d be quitting not so much over our work from home policy, so much as being able to hug my cat whenever it gets bad to remind myself that she depends on me continuing to collect a salary sometimes gets me through the rest of the day in the face of how dysfunctional some aspects of my workplace are. I’m currently applying for exclusively remote only jobs, but that’s more a coincidence than something I’m actively seeking out.

    1. Anonforthisoneplz*

      Honestly, I get this too. I have a dog and while we had no problems before I worked from home… I like spending time with her! Even if it is just her snoozing in her dog bed while I am on calls, it is nice to be able to pat her on the head as I go to the bathroom or give her a kiss on the nose while I’m stretching my legs.

      It feels like the pandemic highlighted that so many of the things that make life enjoyable are always limited or kept out of reach in favor of our survival.

      Due to health concerns, I have been isolating but the idea that when things are better I might be able to occasionally see friends after work without having to make a long commute to see them and then a second long commute home (getting me home late and causing me to lose sleep because I have to get up early and commute the next day) was a nice idea. It would make me happier, which would make more productive. But no, apparently I am only productive when 5 days a week my life revolves around commuting.

  237. BethRA*

    “I just think it’s often a bigger conversation or a bigger thing that we as employees don’t have all the context for.”

    Don’t have full context for why an employer might want their workforce structured a certain way? Sure. But people do have full context of what they want and what works for THEM. That’s not dying on a hill, that’s re-evaluating your situation (and that includes what your options are and whether the jobs you want can be done remotely – and trust me, I think most people understand that distinction and that even being able ponder WFH is a an option lots of folks don’t have) and making decisions accordingly.

    And I really want to push back on the idea that wanting to advocate for WFH or hybrid arrangements somehow precludes being willing or able to advocate for better working conditions for people who have to work in-person.

  238. Anon for this one*

    Honestly, the events of the last year have me wondering if I want to stay in this corporate track at all, remote or not. Some of my peers are excited to go back to the office, but not me! (As much as I enjoy their company and the work we do, the thought of returning to that commute and to a formal business environment, even one day a week, is pretty crushing.) I can’t afford to quit, though!

  239. Krabby*

    I wouldn’t quit a job based on not being able to WFH, but it would certainly make it easier to poach me away if another job was offering it. I’d also look out for jobs that allow WFH when on a job hunt, but it wouldn’t necessarily stop me from applying to companies that don’t allow it (but their other perks better be pretty awesome).

  240. Kiki*

    Software engineer here. Interestingly, I am just leaving a job that would have allowed me to be fully remote and move anywhere for a job where I’m expected to come into the office a few days a week. At this point in my life and career, I’m actually happy to go into the office– it’s a short bus ride from my apartment, it’s downtown so I’ll be closer to some museums and other fun stuff, and I honestly feel like it’s easier to onboard in person. If my new company were to become more strict and require 5 days a week in the office, I’d probably start looking. Additionally, I think when I look for my next role I’d be interested in 100% remote

  241. NewYork*

    I would quit. I have moved out of the city and NOT moving back. My employer is great, and I recognize their right to set reasonable parameters, but moving back would not work for me.

  242. Laney Boggs*

    I was always planning to leave this job (I knew within a week I needed to go, but unfortunately I had job hopped a lot previously, so I knew I needed to stick it out at least a year….then 2020 happened). Anyway, I’m not against full work from home, or hybrid like my office is doing now, but I’m so unhappy hear that coming back to the office is jsut making me want to leave more.

  243. Cippa*

    I was never really into work from home and wouldn’t usually do it when my job offered it before, save for expected snowstorms or when I needed to do research in silence. Once I got past a rough few months I started to really like it. I’m spending this month working from my moms cabin and worked for three weeks out of Hawaii in the spring. That’s what I don’t want to give up. I’m fine coming into the office when I’m home a few days a week, but my company is trying to limit the weeks we can be completely away from the office to two. That what would make me walk, especially because my boyfriend works fully remote. I get so little vacation time it’s great to be able to work from places I wouldn’t have time to visit. This time with my mom has been incredible, and I haven’t gotten to spend more than a week with her for five years. Employers need to understand that’s what we’re giving up.

  244. SnarkyMonkey*

    At the risk of sounding like my dad (who apparently had to walk uphill both ways to school, in the snow with no shoes, natch)… back in my day, you got a job, lived according to company rules, worked hard for the accomplishments that led to raises and promotions, and worked there until you retired. It’s just so interesting to see how things have shifted – the power seems to now be in the hands of the workers due to the intense workforce shortage.

    Here in SE Wisconsin, this shortage is significant, for both knowledge and labor workers, so the employees at my company have basically held the company hostage to get whatever they want. *Some* people have been able to move to 100% WFH, even though the policy is 50%, several people have gone the route of “gimme a raise or I’m quitting” and won, etc. I’m torn about the attitude of entitlement that went along with these demands – the company isn’t an evil villain. It’s a collection of people, a team, that thrives when everyone is treated equitably and pulls together toward a common goal.

    1. a clockwork lemon*

      It sounds like you are working in a free market corporate environment where workers are negotiating for the value of their labor and companies are forced to compete with each other to hire and retain the most talented employees. Isn’t capitalism just the worst?

    2. public defender*

      Eh, your company wouldn’t give into these “entitled” people’s demands if they couldn’t afford it or thought it overall benefited the company’s bottom line. I think you can save your sympathy for your company here.

    3. Jennifer Strange*

      I don’t think it’s “entitlement” to recognize your own worth as an employee and be clear about what your deal breakers are, even if they have evolved since first being hired (though it’s more likely that the employees now realize that, for once, they have some power). The company was well within their right to say no let that person quit; the fact that they chose to give in signals that they actually can afford to allow WFH/give raises and that the employees in question are of value to the company.

    4. quill*

      As someone who left SE Wisconsin precisely because the job market was bad & I couldn’t get a job with benefits, stability, and a living wage… good for your coworkers. 100% remote is a reasonable precaution for avoiding a disease with a high death and disability rate, and if the raises were really going to hurt the company they wouldn’t have given them out. Heck, most companies aren’t willing to do much in the way of raises or increasing headcount even when it WON’T hurt them financially or would actually be better in terms of efficiency and retaining institutional knowledge.

      If you feel jealous of the rest, now is probably the time to ask for a raise, and making that case however you would have back in your day can’t hurt.

  245. a clockwork lemon*

    I’m job hunting for a bunch of reasons right now, but a big push to have everyone back in the office and a manager telling all of us that it was possible they’d phase out the hybrid work options we had previously applied for and had approved was kind of the last straw for me. In my search, I’m only looking for work with companies where I’m required to be physically in-office twice a week or less.

  246. Lana Kane*

    *History Nerd Alert*

    I’ve been thinking of the effects on labor that the Black Plague had in the Middle Ages, and how we might see something similar now. That pandemic led to the end of feudalism – after so many people died, disproportionately peasants, laborers were in more demand and took the opportunity to demand higher wages. As feudal lords started paying more and more in wages, Parliament enacting a wage cap. This then led to peasant revolts, and feudalism collapsed. This was a complete turnaround of an economic system that came about because of a pandemic.

    I don’t think something of that magnitude will happen in our case, but there is no way that labor will go back to the the way it was, exactly, after COVID. Workers know that what they were told was impossible before, is in fact possible. We’re already starting to see employers that normally had no problem filling low-wage jobs start to become desperate for workers, to the point that some are displaying large banners touting $15/hr starting wages in areas that have much lower minimum wage. Lower-paid workers are starting to get the upper hand by realizing that their labor is actually indispensable (or in our parlance in COVID times, essential).

    Same with WFH . Many jobs can be done remotely – some to the point that you don’t even need to live in the same state, or even in a house or apartment (see the #vanlife hashtags on social media for how this has grown). For those who don’t want to be remote full time, hybrid options are possible. People who are caregovers have been able to work out flex schedules. Employers had to perform a huge shift in work modes in a short amount of time – it’s clear that if it could be accomplished in a matter of weeks, we can certainly take some time to reconfigure how people work. So I do think we will see a significant amount of people putting pressure on employers for more flexible schedules/locations.

    1. Bloopmaster*

      Love the history-nerdom! Also makes me think: how can employees of all working preferences and needs best advocate for EVERYONE to have the flexibility and working conditions they desire. Personally, I think that people who work on site (by choice or by necessity) should routinely negotiate their salaries higher than WFH staff doing the same work because they have the additional burden of commuting, etc. This would help reinforce remote work as something normal AND cost effective. Also–ask in interviews about various flexibilities and benefits (from flexible hours to telework to parental leave) even if you don’t intend to use them.

      Other ideas??

  247. Mockingjay*

    My company has always been forward thinking and let a select few employees work remotely permanently due to life changes prior to COVID. During COVID, the company was nearly 99% remote. We’re in engineering and communications, so we all knew that most of us would have to return to physically work with the systems and equipment. Returns begin in September.

    I myself just began working remotely permanently. It’s actually not my personal favorite choice; I enjoy being in the office. But life circumstances – my father-in-law is coming to live with us – meant that we pushed up my husband’s retirement and bought a one-story, smaller home more conducive to an elderly man’s needs. (He’s still pretty spry, but stairs are a no-go.) There were conditions to my company’s agreement: Separate work area in the home, set hours of availability, etc. I have to be willing to travel back for big meetings and engineering events (tests, installs). I still have family in the area, so accommodation is not a problem. (No, they aren’t paying me to travel back to headquarters for routine business. It was my choice to move away. I will still get paid for official trips to work sites around the country.)

  248. Bow Ties Are Cool*

    I love working from home (I did not expect to, and I didn’t until the longevity of the pandemic forced me to rearrange my space to better accommodate full time WFH instead of the occasional day here and there that I did before), and I really want to continue it after our office reopens. It’s looking like my worst case scenario is going to be 2 days a week in the office, but even if I had to come back for most days, I wouldn’t leave my job, though I would not be happy about the decision. BUT, that is entirely because I have a job I enjoy with people I enjoy. If I was not happy in my job I would definitely leave over inability to work from home. And I think we’re all doing that “will I be happier in this job or out of it?” math all the time, with remote work just a new part of the equation for many of us.

  249. Anon WFH*

    My company’s CEO is extremely resistant to WFH, so every time he spouts off about returning to the office, more people quit. It’s gotten so bad that entire cross-functional teams have left, which has noticeably affected project deadlines and will affect profitability long-term.

    Personally, I’ve gotten accommodations for WFH 3 days a week, because my health improved so dramatically during lockdown. Since the clock is ticking on my being permanently disabled, anything I can do to delay that is a high priority for me.

    1. Lana Kane*

      I think this is an example of how some employers will act as COVID starts to wind down. Some will be unable or unwilling to see the writing on the wall. Tehy’ll see people quit and assume they can just hire new people. The problem is, that now more and more people are looking for flexible work arrangements. Finding candidates willing to be in the office every day when it’s not necessary for the role will become harder than they anticipate. So either they will need to significantly increase wages, or accept that they’ll n eed to reconfigure. I think some employers will reach that conclusion too late.

      1. Anon WFH*

        What’s weird is that our CEO is normally a canny guy who is good at keeping both employees and stockholders happy. This is an unexpected blind spot where he’s obviously either not listening or the reports aren’t making it to the C suite.

  250. Another Reader*

    Another observation: companies that claim to be committed to sustainability & “going green” are really missing an opportunity to back up their words with action when they choose to not allow remote work when it is practical.

    Having 500 cars in a parking lot sit there for 8 hours? Clogging up the interstate on the way in and out? Not green. Not sustainable. Let those who want to be car-free for their “commute” have their choice.

    Not allowing remote work for those that can do it and want it is also a HUGE MISS to be more inclusive for those who cannot drive or do not drive due to disabilities… employers could choose to recognize this, but they don’t.

    1. Anax*

      Yep. I have very limited ability to drive, so WFH has been a huge boon, and thankfully, I’m staying permanently 100% remote largely because of that. I miss seeing people in person and having the separation of work-environment and home-environment, but my body just can’t do it anymore; heat is really hard on me, and I live in a hot climate.

      Carpooling with my partner was… workable-ish, but it meant staying an extra hour or two at the office every day, since we work different schedules, and promptly conking out for several hours because the office was too warm. WFH gives me an extra 2-5 hours in my day, plus not feeling sick all the time.

  251. GetBackToTheOfficeInTwoDays*

    We were given essentially 2-7 business days’ notice to get back in the office. (We have a weeklong company closure coming up, and many people take additional vacation around this time, so receiving a “back to office” email yesterday after work hours has amounted to two business days’ notice for me, and a max of seven business days’ notice for others). I love my job but I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated with how they’ve handled this. No flexibility, no transition period to ease back into it, just a requirement to start working from the office for five days a week. No apology for late notice. No thank you for the past year and a half’s work. No recognition that the transition will be difficult but we’ll get through it.

    I’m not even sure I *want* to work from home. I really appreciate being able to leave work at work, and that’s something I’ve been unable to do during COVID. I just don’t have the discipline to shut down my laptop and stop working at 5. Being back in the office will help. So my issue isn’t even that I’m dreading being back in the office—it’s the fact that we weren’t given any choice, input, feedback, recognition, thanks, apologies. It’s been a hell of a year and we have worked extremely hard, and they want us to continue some of the virtual programs we put in place to benefit patrons while ending the WFH benefit from employees. The biggest impact, especially for our younger and lower-paid employees (like me!) who tend to live farther away from work than our VPs do will be commute time and money savings. Vanishing with little warning.

    Will I quit? No. Will I be exploring the current landscape of hiring in my industry to see what benefits and options are being offered by other organizations? Yep.

  252. Anonforthisoneplz*

    I work in higher education and I’ve been fortunate enough to be working from home this whole time. It looks like soon, we will have a hybrid semester with a goal of staff being back on campus 5 days a week before the spring semester, with no talk of any WFH policy at all moving forward. It has been said that our upper level administrators basically think staff who are working from home have been on a paid vacation this past year and change, and that they don’t think we are capable of working if we aren’t in offices.

    This makes me furious. If these folks had to do what we have done, they would absolutely quit in frustration or be fired because they couldn’t keep up. But that’s neither here nor there, I only share this to show how unlikely we are to maintain any kind of hybrid schedule –which would be my ideal work scenario. Not having a commute has been great for my health. I have been able to exercise consistently. I am getting more sleep. I am able to have a bit more leisure time. I can cook healthier meals. It has also been good for my work, because I can provide more flexibility to students (instead of being bound up by having to catch the commuter rail on time), and I can focus more on my work. I have definitely worked more hours in a day at home than I normally would in the office at times, but I haven’t minded doing it because I know I have the flexibility to meet my own needs when I have to as well.

    Would I quit and find a WFH position if I could? Yes. Many jobs in my industry though are not currently work from home, and those that are don’t seem to offer my level of salary and benefits. I would likely have to change industries to find all three: WFH, salary, and benefits.

    So I am taking advantage of the tuition benefit I receive and pursuing some higher education that will help make that a possibility in the future. I have to work a few more years to secure a certain benefit level towards my retirement, but once I have it… I might start looking for greener pastures, even if I have to leave the industry.

    Which is a shame because for the most part, I like my work and I have been told I’m good at it. I don’t think college administrators realize how many good people are going to leave their positions a lot sooner (and take their institutional knowledge with them) because of this rigidness. One of my colleagues bought a house outside of our area (because as a single person, there was no way a they could buy a house in this area), and I can’t imagine they are going to be willing to make the long commute they have five days a week. Another friend from work used to commute with her partner, who now works from home, so she will be doing 3 hours of commuting a day alone; that time used to be spent with her partner, so it didn’t seem so bad, but now it is time away from her family that she doesn’t want to keep doing. I imagine still another will retire sooner, since she has had a taste of not having to get up early and deal with the hassle every day. All of these people likely could be retained if there were flexible schedules and work scenarios, but they will ultimately likely be lost due to rigid ideas about work and the capabilities of staff.

  253. public defender*

    I very, very much would like a 100%-75% WFH set up. At first WFH was weird and I felt like there was no separation between days, but over time I’ve come to love it. I wouldn’t leave my job over it though. I’m an attorney (public defender who has to appear in court almost every day) and at some point I assume the court will go back to having 100% in person hearings so coming back to the office is pretty much unavoidable. But oh boy, I’d love for the court to consider keeping some hearings by phone going forward. It’s so much less stressful as an attorney not to have to run around the court trying to find my clients. True there are some aspects that are not so good, in the before times you could negotiate a deal for a client right on the spot in a way you can’t do remotely, but on balance it’s just so much less stress for me.

  254. JustMyImagination*