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WFH is working and young people don't want to go back to an office

Working from home has its own set of obstacles but honestly, I am one hundred percent willing to deal with my neighbor’s yapping dog if I never have to put on pants. For many people, getting to work from home is one of the silver linings of pandemic life. And now, a small but revealing survey shows that a lot of young people like WFH so much that they would rather quit than go back to the office.

Morning Consult, a data research firm, conducted a poll for Bloomberg News in May that showed that 39% of Americans surveyed would definitely consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to come back to the office. That percentage is even higher amongst young people. According to the report, a whopping 49% of Gen Z and millennials would quit if their bosses aren't flexible about remote work.

To be transparent, there were only 1,000 respondents but the findings feel rather spot on. Why should anyone have to pay the costs of commuting to do work they can do at home. In April, FlexJobs, an organization that matches remote workers with jobs, released data that showed that some people are saving up to $5,000 a year by not having to commute, and 84% of the 2,184 working people they talked to for that report said that “no commute,” was the top benefit for them.

Some traditionalists think that in-office work is somehow inherently more ambitious. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase recently stated at a conference that remote work doesn’t work “for those who want to hustle,” Bloomberg reported. But others seem to think that attitude is condescending and archaic. “It’s a boomer power-play,” Portia Twidt, a research compliance specialist in Georgia who recently quit her job after reportedly being forced to attend a six-minute in-person meeting, told Bloomberg.

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Controlling where people are can also be seen as a way that employers assert dominance over their employees. “They feel like we’re not working if they can’t see us,” Twidt told Bloomberg. Not only do young people like Twidt seem to be resisting that sort of authoritarian impulse, they also want to do what’s good for their mental health. And working from home, it turns out, may be better for many folks’ emotional wellbeing.

Only 2% of people polled said they wanted to go back to the office. Old school corporate fat cats may not want to hear it, but many more modern career experts agree that companies need to change their policies. "You could do a lot of damage to those who don't want to go into the office," Chris Biggs, a partner at the consultancy firm Theta Global Advisors, told Insider. Employers, he said, need to be "tuned into people's mental health.”

I don’t know about you, but my mental health is intimately tied to how able I am to actually follow through on my ambitions. And since my mental health also seems to be determined by how many hours a day I get to spend with my cat, it’s really best for everyone if I work at home.