Workers would pay a ridiculous amount of money to go back to an office

According to a recent WeWork survey, many workers pine for a return to a traditional workspace more than we could ever have dreamed.

Sixty-four percent of those polled said that they would pay as much as $300 to have access to an office workspace. An even larger majority (75%) would forfeit some of their benefits—healthcare coverage, cash bonuses, and paid time off—to have the ability to choose their work environment.

“As more people get vaccinated and we begin to round the corner on the pandemic, employees and companies are looking ahead at what will come next,” the authors wrote in the new report.

What workers want post-COVID

WeWork partnered with independent research firm Workplace Intelligence to conduct the blind survey, which went out to 1,000 C-suite and 1,000 non-C-suite employees.

Both groups believe hybrid work models will keep workers satisfied and productive. There appeared to be a strong correlation between the degree of work satisfaction and the frequency with which employees were allowed to operate away from company headquarters.

The most satisfied employees featured in the survey preferred to work at a place that wasn’t their office around 37% of their workweek.

Conversely, employees that cited low work satisfaction and engagement want to spend just 17% of their time at different locations, 37% of their time at their office’s headquarters, and 46% of their time at home.

These figures say less about the efficacy of working away from the office and more about having the freedom to do so if one so chooses. In other words, just having the option to work somewhere else was more influential than the environment itself — or even the amount of time spent there — with respect to employee engagement.

“For employers, the message is clear: Employees who report high levels of positive work-related sentiments have had access to hybrid arrangements for some time,” the authors explained.

Employees would sacrifice a lot to support the hybrid work model

As previously stated, 75% of workers would forfeit some of their benefits to have the ability to chose their work environment.

Between 20% and 25% of those surveyed would actually give all of the listed benefits up to have a flexible work environment.

Eighty percent of those who earned more than $200,000 per year said that they would pay out of pocket for a return to traditional work models.

And of those in the lowest income bracket (earning between $30,000 and $60,000 per year), 49% said they would pay some amount of their own money for access to office space.

Hybrid models need adjusting

An important note: Hybrid work models, though increasingly desired, require a company-specific approach in order to work efficiently.

The current model for WeWorks’ London HQ sees employees work three days in the main company office, one day from a WeWork location, and one day from home. The idea being that employees can make the most out of non-traditional locations when trying to complete specific tasks and then make comparable progress on projects that require collaboration while at the main headquarters.

This model seems to be working well for the $2.9 billion-valued WeWork, but other companies may need to adjust the amount of days employees spend at home in order to maximize output and worker engagement.

Recently, WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani came out against full-time work-from-home models, finding that employees who are the most engaged with the company preferred to go into the office two-thirds of the time, at the very least.

“It’s up to companies to pave the way, by offering the right spaces, tools, and resources to help employees be successful,” the authors conclude.