The long-awaited return to offices around New Jersey might have been slowed by the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, but remote work will eventually erode, and employees will return to their places of business in person.

The degree to which workers and their bosses want that to happen, however, varies greatly, according to research conducted by staffing firm Robert Half.

Still, regional manager Dora Onyschak cautioned that the numbers they have crunched this month, as Delta surges, aren't the be-all and end-all.

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"Potentially a year ago, we would have thought maybe these numbers would look very different, so in another two, three, four months, they could look different again," Onyschak said.

Right now, 71% of managers want their workers back in the office full time, and only 16% would like to continue a hybrid or remote model.

But Onyschak said the survey reached out to employees too, and found that about half of them would prefer hybrid work — and that's not all.

"34% of them, which I think is huge, a third of professionals currently working from home would look for a new position if they were required to return full-time," Onyschak said.

There are hurdles to every potential setup, Onyschak said, and so one solution might be to let the employees themselves decide what they want to do.

Just 12% of managers in the survey supported that, but Onyschak said offering more flexibility might benefit employers and employees equally.

That's especially important given the worker shortage still plaguing New Jersey and the rest of the United States.

"No organization wants to lose good talent, and that's one of the risks that employers face if they do insist on a fully in-office model moving forward," she said. "There are a lot of open positions, not a lot of qualified candidates for specialized skills. So as an employer, giving employees the freedom to choose where they work can boost morale."

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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