70% of interns view distant work negatively, research finds

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Monty Rakusen | Image source | Getty Images

Most employees like working from home. Interns largely don’t share that sentiment.

To that point, 70% of interns view remote work negatively, according to Glassdoor, a career site. Meanwhile, that’s true for 40% of part-time and full-time employees, a much smaller share.

The discrepancy suggests that employers — which are trying to determine the best ratio of in-person to at-home work — may have a tough time making everyone happy in the current pandemic work environment.

Much of the value of internships for interns comes from interactions with senior members of an organization, like managers and executives, who often play a mentor role for college-age workers.

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“It’s just harder to do in a remote context,” said Daniel Zhao, a senior economist at Glassdoor. “There’s not as much opportunity to build that relationship.”

Conversely, other employees have largely already developed those work networks and connections, Zhao said. Many are also in different phases of life relative to college students — parents, for example, appreciate the flexibility of being able to work from home.

Glassdoor analyzed online job reviews from June to September 2021. (Many college internships occur in the summer.) An intern who viewed remote work in a negative context listed it as a “con” instead of a “pro.”

The negative perception of remote work among interns is up from about 50% and 58% in summer 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Meanwhile, other employees have come to view remote work more favorably over the course of the pandemic as they’ve grown accustomed to the flexibility it affords, Zhao said.

About 77% of workers have generally enjoyed working from home, according to a survey published last week by Grant Thornton, a consulting firm. Forty-six percent would look for another job if forced to physically return to the office.

“Far from being a necessary burden, [workers] strongly indicated that they have enjoyed the ability to work from home,” according to the report. “Even though it was initially mandated for safety reasons, employees appreciated the gains in work-life balance.”

The report found that 38% of respondents were looking forward to physically returning to work, though not necessarily full-time again.

“Certainly, the majority of employees seem to appreciate the flexibility remote work offers, but it’s not a universally held sentiment,” Zhao said.

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