SEATTLE – A survey of 1,000 remote workers asked the real reasons workers wanted to stay at home beyond the usual answer of enjoying a flexible schedule, the survey also asked about factors like caring for pets and children, the ability to nap, work out, or watch TV during the workday, concerns about appearance, and more.

It turns out that many workers got just as attached to their pandemic pets as the pets did to them. 75 percent of those surveyed stated that caring for pets was one of the reasons they wanted to stay away from the office, with 17 percent stating that this was the number one factor in their decision. An almost equal number (72 percent) said that they wanted the freedom to exercise or nap during the day, while 73 percent said they wanted the ability to entertain themselves with TV, podcasts, or other media while working.

In addition, 62 percent of respondents reported concerns about their appearance and seeing coworkers in-person again, including factors such as gained or lost weight and not having the right clothes for their workplace. Although the majority of respondents said they would go back to work in-person if they had to, a staunch 14 percent stated they would not leave their remote lifestyle even if required by their employers.

“More people are starting to realize that there’s tremendous value in having the flexibility to work remotely,” said Dennis Consorte, small business and startup marketing consultant. “They get to travel, to spend time with their families, to care for pets, and to work without a boss constantly checking up on them. Businesses should embrace this reality and offer more flexibility, not less. Start paying more attention to the value that each worker produces, and less attention to the hours they spend glued to a desk.”

Although there is inevitably tension between employers wanting their workers back in-person and employees wishing to stay remote, compromise is possible. 55 percent of those surveyed said they would be more willing to go back to work in-person if their workplace took steps to make the transition easier, such as allowing days in-office for pets or kids or relaxing rules about dress code and headphone use.

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