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Most Workers Would Rather Quit Than Be Forced Back to the Office: Survey

As companies try to entice employees back to the office, a growing number of workers are pushing back.

Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

In the wake of the pandemic, remote work has become increasingly common and in a recent survey, more than half of remote workers said they would rather quit their job than have to return to the office before they feel it is safe.

The Morning Consult found that as of January 6, 55 percent of remote workers would seriously consider leaving their job rather than heading back to the office if they felt it was not safe. That is a 10 percent increase from just a week earlier and a 20 percent jump from December when only 35 percent of remote workers expressed a willingness to quit before returning to an in-person work environment.

The increase in workers not feeling safe about returning to an office is tied to the Omicron variant, as COVID cases are currently reaching record numbers in the United States. Dr. Fauci said that “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.”

The most recent surge has served as a harsh reminder that despite the vaccine and attempts to return to some semblance of normalcy, we are very much still living in a pandemic. And the idea of returning to an office during a time like this seems unnecessary and frightening to a majority of working Americans.

Heading into December of 2021, it looked like the return to office life was officially underway, as 40 percent of workers in the 10 largest business districts in America had returned to their offices. But Omicron plummeted that number back down to 17.5 percent by the end of the month.

While the future of office life remains uncertain, one thing is perfectly clear: as long as we are in a global pandemic, a sizable number of workers will continue to prefer working remotely for the safety of themselves and their loved ones.