Tech workers prefer flexible at the office and at home scenarios and are increasing risk of burnout if employers don’t grant it, finds a new report.
The 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, released by Dice, shows the complexities organizations face in creating attractive work environments for in-demand technologists.
Results from the survey of 2021 were compared to sentiment surveys from last year.
The desire to work remotely five days per week in Q2 2021 (29%) has significantly declined from the fourth quarter of 2020 (41%), showing a preference for a hybrid work model in lieu of being fully remote, the report reveals.
Currently, tech professionals are most enticed by the cost-savings of remote work (70% in Q2 2021 vs. 61% in Q4 2020) and more flexibility/schedule control (67% vs. 65%).
However, 24% of respondents feel their work-life balance is worse than pre-pandemic due to increased demands, workforce shortages and no set boundaries between home and work. Roughly three-quarters feel their work-life balance is better (33%) or the same (43%) as it was before COVID-19.
“Because there is nowhere to go, there is nothing to punctuate the workday, no reason to stop. The demands keep coming and I keep working,” Dice quotes one anonymous participant as saying.
Burnout seems to have hit those aged 18-34 hardest. Older technologists may not have young children to manage in addition to their workload, Dice speculates, and they’re less likely to need the in-person mentoring and collaboration that technologists between the ages of 18 and 34 desire so fervently.
It’s also apparent that relationships have deteriorated between technologists and their colleagues and managers. Fifty-one percent said that remote work made it harder to develop and maintain working relationships with colleagues (up from 40% in Q2 2020), and 34% claimed they were having difficulty maintaining an effective relationship with their manager (up from 22% in Q2 2020).
What could the solution look like? Dice suggests that “companies’ traditional reluctance to embrace remote work seems to be disappearing — but many technologists, especially those in the 18-34 demographic, may still hunger for certain benefits that only in-office work can provide.”
Giving this group the ability to create their own schedules can help them achieve a “successful” work-life balance based on their own definition, which in turn reduces the likelihood of reaching burnout.
All this suggests that companies are taking a slow-and-careful approach to bringing their workforces back into the office, which makes sense: no organization wants to go through the arduous and expensive process of shutting down workplaces again.