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Technologists Prefer Flexible Structure Over Full-Time Remote Work: Report

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Technologists clearly prefer hybrid and 100% remote options over working permanently in-office; only 17% of technologists find working in the office full-time to be extremely or very desirable, compared to 59% for both 100% remote and hybrid approaches, according to the 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, released from Dice (a DHI Group brand).

The desire to work remotely five days/week in Q2 2021 (29%) has significantly declined from the fourth quarter of 2020 (41%), showing a preference for a hybrid work model in lieu of being fully remote, the report added.

As technologists have adjusted to remote work life, there have been some shifts in sentiment regarding pros and cons. Currently, tech professionals are most enticed by the cost-savings of remote work (70% in Q2 2021 vs. 61% in Q4 2020) and more flexibility/schedule control (67% vs. 65%). Some of the additional benefit shifts since last year are increased health for technologists’ lifestyles (up nine percentage points) and a decrease in being relaxed (down seven percentage points).

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In comparing year-over-year data, it’s clear that technologists learned how to better manage the distractions and technical issues of remote work as time went on. When looking at detriments to remote work, it’s equally apparent that relationships have deteriorated between technologists and their colleagues and managers. Fifty-one percent of technologists said that remote work made it harder to develop and maintain working relationships with colleagues (up from 40% in Q2 2020), and 34% claimed they were having difficulty maintaining an effective relationship with their manager (up from 22% in Q2 2020).

Technologists reported higher levels of burnout in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, although not all technologists are experiencing burnout at the same level. Technologists 55 and older reported significantly lower levels of burnout than those between the ages of 18 and 34. Fewer technologists in the 55+ group (35%) also reported an increase in workload during the pandemic, compared to their 18-34-year-old colleagues (47%).

Twenty-four percent of technologists feel their work-life balance is worse than pre-pandemic due to increased demands, workforce shortages, no set boundaries between home and work. Roughly three-quarters of technologists feel their work-life balance is better (33%) or the same (43%) as it was before COVID-19.

Profession and Economic Outlook
Looking at technologists’ perceptions of both the larger economy and tech as a profession, there is quite a bit of optimism for the future. Satisfaction with career (75% Q2 2021 vs. 67% Q4 2020), job (65% vs. 55%) and remote work status (84% vs. 80%) are all notably up in Q2 2021 compared to Q4 2020. Further, 91% of technologists feel the tech profession will grow at least slightly in the next five years from where it is now, with more than half (55%) believing that it will grow significantly.

However, as technologists emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, many of them have an increased willingness to shift employers.

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