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How age and gender are two more variables in returning to work, and unemployment benefits aren’t

Another angle on remote work – age is a perspective.  Younger workers… want to be in the office.    Quoting Axios:

A whopping 40% of college students and recent graduates prefer fully in-person work, according toa new pollby Generation Lab, a polling and research firm that tracks trends affecting youth.  Another 39% want a hybrid workplace, 19% want to work remotely and 3% say they have no preference.

Why?  Community – 74% of respondents.

That’s different from the rest of the workforce – just 12% of all office workers want to go back full time.

There are other concerns too.     Qualtrics asked employed US adults for theirs – and the top two are “being socially awkward” followed by “Following proper social etiquette”.. and more than one third of respondents said they would choose a “touchless greeting”.     Age again matters – the older, the more uncomfortable with working in the same enclosed space.

Gender is a variable too – 79 percent of men had a positive work from home experience, when compared with 37 percent of women, per McKinsey.   One in four women and one in three mothers said they are thinking about downshifting their career or leaving the workforce entirely.      I’ve linked to a deeper dive in Recode.

As for the shortage – Bloomberg is reporting that new JP Morgan chase data indicates that removing unemployment benefits has made any different in getting workers to return.

Two longer pieces I want to direct listeners to – first, Wired has a piece on which day is “best” to go back to the office.   There isn’t one – it’s a cultural set of choices.  

The second is a New Yorker article – about sustainable remote work.    Again the key – culture.  It’s a deep dive into “ROWE”, or results only work environments.   

Why do we care?

I do love hard problems, because they usually have multiple solutions, and solving them is generally profitable.  

Short term justifications for the labor shortage like unemployment benefits are a distraction – and not backed by data.      I keep covering this to provide the tools to build your own culture as well as help your customers, because the changes to work will be driven by technology.      That’s what makes it an opportunity.

String this together – philosophies like ROWE are implemented with culture, people, and process – and enabled by technology.      Those that string these capabilities together will excel.     And it’s why we care so much about exploring the variables.