BOSTON (SHNS) – New poll results show how entrenched remote work has become two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, and hint at the challenges facing places like downtown Boston where businesses have long counted on spending by commuters.

Ninety-six percent of the more than 300 Boston business community respondents surveyed said they believe they can do their work remotely, and half of the respondents said they believe a remote work policy is an expected offering, not a benefit. The poll, released by the strategic communications firm Seven Letter and done in partnership with the Boston Business Journal, also found that 57 percent of respondents would definitely or probably look for a new job if their employer did not offer a remote work policy.

One-quarter of those surveyed said they don’t know their office’s long-term plans for remote work, and respondents split evenly on the question of whether the business handshake will return at in-person work.

“Companies are going to need to begin thinking about their remote work policies not in terms of a ‘benefit’ — but more in terms of an expected way of doing business. This will be essential as companies are considering retention going forward,” Seven Letter Partner and Head of Research Matt George said.

Said Doug Banks, executive editor of the Boston Business Journal, “Boston’s business leaders developed a certain level of expectation around working remotely, but a significant number of companies have not decided on a long-term remote work policy. The research from Seven Letter shows that companies need to better communicate their plans for these policies.”