A recent survey conducted by Gallup of 4,034 adults found that most of full-time employees (75 percent) expect to continue working from home for the rest of 2022 and even longer.
“This is not unexpected news as more workers want to continue working from home to avoid COVID and long commutes as gasoline process continue to soar. But this stay-at-home trend could be even more damaging to an already fragile supply chain that depends on workers to keep things flowing,” according to Robert Strauss, a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
During the past year, many surveys revealed what employees and employers feel about working remotely. The latest Gallup survey reconfirms once again that most employees want to continue flexible arrangements and expect employers to offer them for the rest of 2022.
“There are many reasons for people wanting to work from home but one of the big reasons is that people want to be compensated for risk, and staying home helps take away some of that risk in today’s pandemic environment,” said Strauss.
The Gallup survey reports that 44 percent of those surveyed said working at home was better for their well-being. Some 37 percent said staying at home to perform work gave them more flexibility to address personal problems like family and other obligations. And 35 percent simply said they were more productive at home, while 29 percent reported less distractions when working from home.
Still, the survey reported that another 61 percent said they would prefer a hybrid schedule where they can work from home three days a week and then return to the office for the remaining two days of work.
But experts report that kind of hybrid work makes it difficult on businesses that need workers to stock and unload trucks or to work at packaging of products for shipping of goods nationwide. The average wait for goods ordered online now is up from 5 days to almost 10 days to two weeks.
Marty Walsh said he has been waiting for a car part for his 2004 Saab for more than two weeks. “I know they don’t make the car anymore, but it should not take a lifetime to get a small spare part,” Walsh said. On the other side of that coin, is the problem of fewer mechanics available to fix cars. The U.S. will be short approximately 642,000 automotive, diesel and collision technicians by 2024 if current trends hold, according to the TechForce Foundation.
Industry analysis also report that fewer people at work limited the number of shipping containers produced at a time when the demand for shipping items increased and the cost of moving cargo has skyrocketed and is expected to increase in 2022. Sending a container from Shanghai to Los Angeles normally costs $2,000. By the end of this year, that same trip will cost $25,000. And with many truck drivers and dock workers stuck in quarantine, the availability of workers to deliver goods is dwindling.
The answer, according to Strauss, is “shop early and often, and try getting back into the office to work.”