Back to the Office - the great return or great resignation?

by Dan Hughes

Posted on Nov 30, 2021

Back to the Office - the great return or great resignation?

Remote working is not a new phenomenon by any means—but it is a concept that was given its long overdue time in the sun due to the pandemic.

As the world was thrust into a state of mass isolation in spring 2020 and businesses across sectors scrambled to stay afloat, working from home became standard, with employers offering remote opportunities to staff wherever possible.

During the peak of the pandemic, working from home doubled in the UK, with 8.4 million people conducting their daily duties remotely. Meanwhile, in the US where 1 in 5 Americans say they had worked from home before the pandemic, more than a third of professionals started working from home.

Several remote working studies (including an MIT-based survey suggest that many business leaders believe that embracing remote working boosts productivity and fosters innovation.

The remote working revolution has changed the professional playing field, offering people the freedom and flexibility to pursue their careers in ways that break down the shackles of traditional office practices.

Despite highlighting the potential and possibilities of working from home, as the pandemic saw signs of levelling out in the 3rd quarter of 2021, many employers have been commanding a return to work.

Hybrid or Remote working

Just as the world of marketing after Covid-19 has changed completely, so too has the world of work, where remote working has so quickly become a part of modern life. And it might take a few years to settle into its own “new normal”.

According to a Slack survey, many workers like the new way of working with nearly three-quarters preferring a hybrid arrangement, while only 12% want to work in the office full-time and 13% at home full-time.  

Back to the Office - the great return or great resignation?

As a result of Covid lockdowns, certain technologies and platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet became indispensable to companies and workers. With a return to work taking place slowly across the globe, many companies are introducing schedules and staggered groups to minimize contact. But many of them are working towards a hybrid or remote model that allows people to be flexible and choose how they wish to work.

What companies are doing a hybrid work model?

Notable examples of companies that are embracing a hybrid work model are:

  • Google - plans to allow remote working indefinitely or people can choose to work half the week at home
  • Microsoft - offers the chance to work from home less than half the working week without approval
  • Uber - has extended its work from home policy and a $500 fund to set up a home office
  • Zillow - allows employees to work from home permanently
  • Virgin Media - creating a ‘future of ways’ work strategy to adapt offices for hybrid working
  • Revolut - moving its staff to permanent flexible working and converting offices into collaboration spaces

Ultimately, the way we work and the technology we need to do it will continue to evolve. 

The Great Resignation

Every change has consequences and just as employers have been asking their employees to head back into the office and fit back into more geographically-focused and rigid work routines, a mass exodus has started to unfold—in the form of resignations. Many professionals, marketing creatives included, have decided to leave companies that are seeking to end the more flexible, remote-working situations they have become used to.

What is driving the great resignation? US-based studies show that a sizable 60% of employees will quit their job if forced to return to the office—with factors for leaving driven by not having to commute (83%), cost savings (74%), and time savings (69%), among others.

While working from home doesn’t suit everyone, it appears that the main issue here is a lack of autonomy rather than a flat refusal to return to the office at all. Many professionals may feel coerced to return to the workplace with a lack of emphasis on a flexible remote working and office-based hybrid.

There is evidence to show that telecommuting works and that it offers the potential for a more progressive, more open attitude to remaining productive—yet the hard U-turn that many businesses are adopting could well prove damaging: a company does after all thrive on its talent.

Securing a brighter remote working future

Jobs in the digital marketing field are among the world’s most lucrative and rewarding remote-based jobs. According to a survey from the remote-office platform, unremot, the top 10 top remote roles include content writers, social media managers, and user experience (UX designers).

The same study also shows that remote workers have a higher income than their office-based counterparts in nations such as the UK, US, Hong Kong (China), Spain, The United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand. And, a significant portion of high earning freelancers fall into the globe-trotting, digital nomad category.

If you’re reluctant to return to the office and go back to a more traditional professional lifestyle, honing your digital marketing skills will significantly increase your chances of landing a rewarding remote working situation.

No matter which country you’re in, whether you’re looking to branch into digital marketing or advance your existing career in the field, there are a wealth of opportunities out there for the taking, from social media manager or SEO manager, even a social media influencer.

By gaining professional skills and qualifications, you will broaden your prospects as a digital marketer. Armed with the right skills and credentials, you can land yourself a role at a forward-thinking company that values flexible working, you could branch out as a freelancer or affiliate marketer, or even become a digital nomad yourself.

As a guide, here are some of the most essential digital marketing skills:

The Future of Work

While the pandemic has been devastating for many reasons, one of the few positives is the fact that it accelerated the remote working revolution. Many employers stand to lose vital talent through organizational shortsightedness and a reluctance to embrace the future of work.

The exodus of talented professionals saying no to employers that are nudging them back into the office demonstrates a clear shift in attitude. In the digital world, opportunities to thrive as a remote working digital marketer are plentiful, if you have the skills. 

If you want to break into the industry or you’re a digital marketer looking to broaden your horizons, earning a digital marketing certification is the way forward. Enroll on our globally-recognized Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and get ahead of the pack.


Dan Hughes

Dan is a content writer specializing in digital marketing, emerging tech, music and looking after a toddler. You can find out more about him and his work by visiting his Catchy Space.

Upgrade to Power Membership to continue your access to thousands of articles, toolkits, podcasts, lessons and much much more.
Become a Power Member

CPD points available

This content is eligible for CPD points. Please sign in if you wish to track this in your account.