Which Generation Really Wants To Work From Home? (Hint: It’s Not Gen Z)

Working at home - remote work and studying during and after coronavirus pandemic.
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Working remotely became a necessity during the onset of the pandemic, and many Americans welcomed the change. As we shift into a post-pandemic norm, more and more companies are adjusting their work-from-home policies to reflect these new expectations.

Earlier this year, Forbes reported that remote work is here to stay and is even set to increase in 2023. The publication cited data from researchers with Ladders that projected 25% of all professional jobs will be remote by the end of 2022. But how does each generation feel about such a big change?

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It isn’t actually the generation most would suspect that are pushing hard for remote work. A recent GOBankingRates survey asked readers for their opinion on remote work/work-from-home policies at their current or future employers. Respondents had the option to select that they:

  • Do not want to work remotely
  • Would like a hybrid model
  • Would prefer to be remote
  • Consider remote work a necessity
  • Their profession does not enable remote work
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Gen Z (born from 1997-2012) had the lowest percentage of people say that they’d prefer to work from home, with less than 29% choosing that option. But Gen Z isn’t exactly avoiding remote work. That would be baby boomers and older Gen Xers, who had the highest percentage of people say they don’t want to work remotely (37%), making them the generation that most wants to return to the office.

While not all of Gen Z wants to work remotely, 27% of them do see working from home as an absolute necessity; more than any other generation. And between all of the generations, 24% (about a quarter of all people) feel the same.

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Events like the ‘Great Resignation‘ have forced companies to rapidly adapt to changes in employee expectations. GOBankingRates’ survey data complements that finding, showing that more and more Americans believe remote work isn’t going anywhere. Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella said, “This change in working arrangements is impossible to overhype. As big as it is, it’s even bigger than people think.”

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It’s important to remember that Gen Z is a young generation, with the youngest of them still in middle school. The majority of these ‘zoomers’ haven’t had the chance to enter the workforce, let alone determine their preference of home versus office. Millennials, however, have had plenty of time. And according to the survey, millennials are actually the generation that most prefers to work from home, followed by baby boomers and Gen X, respectively.

Forty-two percent of people aged 25 to 34 prefer to work from home, which doesn’t even encompass the whole millennial generation. Twenty-nine percent of those aged 35 to 44 selected this preference, which includes older millennials and some young Gen Xers. Surprisingly, baby boomers are a bit more keen on working from home than Gen X, with 34% of those 65 and over preferring to work from home.

July’s work report shows that the job market is still going strong with 528,000 jobs added last month, many of which were probably remote. Still, the majority of businesses don’t allow for remote work of any kind according to an Owl Labs study. If working from home is important to your job search, don’t forget to ask about a company’s remote work policies during your interview. And for those in Gen Z who aren’t quite at working age, you’ll see a lot more remote and hybrid work in the future.

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