Personal Finance

70% of interns view remote work negatively, study finds

Key Points
  • Seventy percent of interns view remote work negatively, a much higher share than other employees, according to a new analysis by career site Glassdoor.
  • That perception is largely due to lost or infrequent interactions in person with colleagues and mentors.
  • Conversely, 40% of part-time and full-time employees feel that way.
Monty Rakusen | Image Source | Getty Images

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

In fact, 70% of interns view remote work negatively, according to a study by Glassdoor, a career site. Meanwhile, that impression is the case for 40% of part-time and full-time employees.

The wide 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 comes in interactions that college-age workers have with senior members of an organization, like managers and executives, who often play a mentor role with them.

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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 of those workers also are in different phases of life relative to college students. Many parents, for example, appreciate the flexibility of having the choice 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.

Managers struggle to balance employee expectations and executive desires
Managers struggle to balance employee expectations and executive desires

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, 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. Almost half — or 46% — said they would look for another job if they were forced to 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 on a full-time basis.

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