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The Split Between Who Likes Working From Home And Who Doesn't May Be Fairly Even

Desk chair
A clean desk and a good chair are key for the successful work-from-home operation.

Experts predicting an end to office buildings as employees get used to working from home may have cloudy crystal balls, according to a new Gensler report.

The global architectural firm surveyed more than 2,300 U.S. workers from 10 different industries about their remote working experiences during the coronavirus pandemic and found that many office employees miss being at work.

Those surveyed by Gensler work full time for companies with 100 or more employees. 

About 56% of respondents desire remote work options in some capacity:  26% would like to work from home one to two days a week, followed by 18% who preferred three to four days at home. About 12% of respondents desire full-time telecommuting. 

Approximately 44% of respondents said they don't want to work from home in the future. 

The ability to connect with other people is a high priority for office workers who desire a return to the workplace.  Seventy-four percent said they miss the people they work with when telecommuting. 

For many office workers, productivity gains also decline a bit at home.

Younger workers also need the office to focus on their daily tasks. Fifty-percent of millennials and Gen fZ respondents said it's hard to avoid distractions when working remotely, while 41% of Gen X and 33% of baby boomers reported the same problem, according to Gensler. 

When it comes to completing their daily work tasks at home, 61% of surveyed millennials and Gen Z respondents said they still manage to get everything done, compared to 65% of Gen X and 68% of baby boomers. 

Some companies are finding that productivity concerns were unfounded and that the vast majority of employees want to keep working from home. Wight & Co. CEO Mark Wight told Bisnow this week his employees' productivity has increased, and construction CEOs he speaks to regularly have found the same. Four out of five employees in a global Colliers International survey conducted in late March said they would like to work remotely one day a week or more beyond the coronavirus crisis. 

While Gensler found many eager to return to work in some fashion, office users do expect their workplaces to adapt to a new post-coronavirus mindset. 

About 55% of respondents expressed a desire for their workplaces to enact stricter policies against employees coming to work sick. Another 50% said they want to see increased office cleaning before they're comfortable at work.

CORRECTION, MAY 22, 7:05 P.M. ET: An earlier version of this story misstated how many people Gensler surveyed. It has been updated to say "more than 2,300" instead of "2,500." Gensler also corrected its original report, which said 44% of respondents indicated they either don’t want to work from home in the future or hadn’t decided, to say 44% said they don’t want to work from home in the future.