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Gen Z is struggling to be productive working from home

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One might assume that Gen Zers, who were born during the internet era, would thrive working from home. Nope.

At 43%, workers aged 18 to 24 are most likely to say their productivity has decreased since they started working remotely. That’s the finding from a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll of 2,802 U.S. adults between July 17 and 21.

It does make sense: Many of these workers are early in their career, or even just starting their first post-grad job, and still learning the ropes of their new profession. That could be challenging without in-person direction or a company that understands how to properly onboard a remote worker. 

Overall, the productivity results for remote working are lackluster. Among remote workers, 29% say they’re less productive, 24% more productive, and 47% equally productive. While some workers are more productive as they cut out workplace distractions and commutes, many others, including parents affected by a lack of child care, are struggling. 

These numbers challenge the national narrative that WFH has been a success and is threatening to upend business as usual—and commercial estate in expensive cities—even after the crisis ends.

And that share of more productive workers could be misleadingly high: Many workers are being pushed to be more productive as employers lay off staff en masse, but that could reverse as the economy improves. 

At 33%, remote workers aged 25 to 34 are the only age group more likely to say they’ve seen their productivity increase rather than decline (25% say the latter). Millennials are also the age group most likely to say they’d prefer to fully work from home in the fall (48%). Compare that to 18- to 24-year-olds, the group least likely to want to WFH, at 27%. 

Among millennials, at least, WFH seems to be more than a phase. 

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,802 adults in the U.S. between July 17–21. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.

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