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Many employees want to work remotely forever. Some business owners will fire those who try.

Many small business owners want their employees to return to the office full-time as the pandemic wanes — and 39% said they would fire workers who refuse.

That is from a July 6 survey of 1,500 small business owners by Digital.com, which shows the potential disconnect between employers and employees over what the future of the workplace should look like as many workers hold out for remote jobs and other expect work-from-home flexibility as part of the job search.

During the pandemic, about 30% of business owners said their employees worked remotely, while another 36% worked some combination of onsite and remote. But once the pandemic is over, only 10% plan to continue remote work, while about 37% plan on either a hybrid office or allowing employees to choose to work in the office or remotely and 39% expect employees to return to the office full time.

But that resistance to some kind of remote work offering may hurt businesses in the future, said Digital’s small business expert, Dennis Consorte, in a blog post.

“COVID-19 lockdowns didn’t create the move towards a remote workforce — it just accelerated the inevitable,” Consorte said. “Companies that focus on physical location and hours worked will be behind the curve. They should focus instead on the value produced by their extended teams. Otherwise, their most valued employees may seek out remote opportunities elsewhere.”

While 39% of business owners said they would fire employees who refused to return to work full time, about 39% said they would not, while the remainder said they were not sure. But about 47% of business owners who say they will fire employees for not returning are in white-collar industries such as computer and information technology, business, finance and advertising and marketing. 

*Article Courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal 

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