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17% of the U.S. workforce works part-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The group represents a critical portion of the total workforce, and in a recent study of remote workers, we found much lower satisfaction levels among part-time remote workers compared to their full-time peers.
In this post, we dive deeper to examine how part-time employment arrangements influence perceptions and emotions surrounding remote work in the U.S.
Earlier this summer, we surveyed 500 U.S. remote workers, click-balanced on the 'Remote Veterans' who embraced remote work pre-pandemic and the 'Digital Converts' who adapted to this new norm during or after the COVID-19 outbreak. For this post’s analysis, we focused on full-time and part-time employees (n = 377), setting aside self-employed and student respondents.
We previously published some initial findings from this study, which focused on generational differences among remote workers. We found that younger generations were less satisfied with remote work than their older counterparts and were also less likely to recommend it to others, regardless of their employment structure.
Distinct Differences: Remote Work Satisfaction
We began our exploration with a simple question: how would you describe your experience working remotely? We cut this among a dozen segment groups and found the full-time/part-time split especially interesting.
While the sentiment was overall positive, the part-time contingent had a more tepid response, rating their enjoyment of a very or somewhat positive experience 13 percentage points lower than the full-timers.
We dug deeper, finding that NPS told a similar story but in a bigger way. Not only did part-time remote workers diverge from full-time remote employees, there was a substantial rift between the two cohorts.
Examining the demographics of each segment, the biggest differences were that part-timers were predominantly fully remote, more likely to be single or never married, less likely to have children, and had a lower percentage of higher education degrees.
However, the largest differences between the two remote work life segments emerged when we cut by generation. While full-time workers tend to be in the more established stages of their career journey, part-timers are more likely to be near the start of their careers (Gen Z and Millennials) or nearing retirement (Boomers).
The Remote Work Satisfaction Split: Why Does Gen Z Matter?
Although part-timers are generally less content with remote work life, the sentiment varies across generations. Boomers are notably satisfied and frequently recommend virtual employment, whereas Gen Z’s dissatisfaction skews the overall outlook.
The narrative continues with a stunning 107-point NPS chasm between the optimistic Boomers and apprehensive Gen Zers, showing a massive difference among younger vs. older part-time workers.
Health Is a Significant Factor
Why does Gen Z have such a grim view of remote work? When comparing part-time Gen Zers to their full-time peers, the two groups have significantly different perspectives on remote work’s impact on their health.
One stark difference influencing Gen Z’s view on remote work is their self-reported health metrics. Gen Z part-timers are over 2x more likely than older generations to perceive their remote work/life balance as unhealthy.
This concern extends to mental health. Relative to their full-time counterparts, Gen Z part-time workers rated their mental health significantly below other generational groups.
Remote Work Frustrations
The challenges posed by part-time remote work seem to be felt most by Gen Z, likely influencing their lower scores in work/life balance and mental well-being. The absence of physical interaction and a diminished sense of community at work are their biggest complaints, likely resulting in a profound sense of unwelcome solitude.
Younger Workers Are Less Likely to Continue Working Remotely
Given these findings, it’s unsurprising Gen Z part-time workers are least inclined to pursue long-term remote work. Their experiences and the resulting lower NPS provide context for their hesitancy.
Looking Forward: Part-Time Remote Work for All Generations
This study highlights generational differences that influence the perceptions and experiences of part-time remote workers. While Boomers thrive, Gen Z struggles with their own distinct challenges. The call to action is clear - companies that want to improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention must consider the nuanced perspectives of all age groups.
How IntelliSurvey Can Help
Ready to bridge the gap? IntelliSurvey specializes in custom online surveys to help gather employee feedback and turn that data into powerful insights and actionable strategies. We would be delighted to discuss your study needs and how we can be of service - please get in touch.
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