While compensation remains employees’ top priority, flexibility, mobility, and remote work are also high on the list, according to Prudential’s new Pulse of the American Worker Survey. The results show that today’s workers see the value of on-site work, but want the option to continue working remotely as well.

The trend toward career switching

During the pandemic, 20% of workers changed their line of work entirely, and half of those expect the change to be permanent, Prudential found. The most common reasons for career switching were better work-life balance, better compensation, and the desire to try something new. Of those who stayed with their employer, 26% plan to find a new job once the pandemic threat has declined.

The desire for flexibility, continued remote work options

When looking for new jobs, workers want positions that offer flexibility, including the option for remote work. More than two-thirds (68%) said that a combination of on-site and remote work is ideal. One in three said they would not want to work for an employer that required 100% onsite work.

The report notes that, for companies, offering remote work will be necessary not just for attracting new workers, but for keeping the ones they have:

  • 73% of workers said employers should continue to offer remote work after the pandemic
  • 42% of current remote workers said that if their company does not continue to offer remote work, they will look for a new job

The top reason employees like remote work is that they save money. Other advantages include saving commute time, being able to spend more time with family, and health benefits like getting more sleep and being less stressed.

While employees want remote work, they still face some significant challenges, mostly related to company culture. More than half (54%) say they’ve taken less paid time off, and almost half (48%) feel pressure to be online all of the time. Socializing with coworkers is also difficult.

Safely returning to on-site work

Finally, employees want to feel safe before returning to on-site work. Prudential found that the top thing that will reassure them of safety is getting vaccinated, followed by enhanced cleaning and safety procedures and a general reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Download the full report for more information about workers’ attitudes toward the future workplace.