It is no secret that tensions between workers and employers over return to work are mounting. As more employers push to bring workers back in, workers themselves are taking a tougher stance. A FlexJobs survey from April 2021 found that 60% of women and 52% of men would quit if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely, at least temporarily. Sixty-nine percent of men and 80 percent of women said remote working options were one of their top considerations when looking for a new job.

The “official” reasons why they do not want to return to work are well documented. You are more productive. It is easier to merge work and life when your commute to work is down the hallway. But for some, the reasons are more personal and difficult to share. Who will walk the dog they adopted during the pandemic? They have gained weight and need to buy new work clothes. The thought of being trapped in a cubicle all day makes her cry.

We spoke to several people who gave us their very own reasons for not wanting to go back to work. (Due to the sensitivity of some of the comments, Fast Company has allowed some individuals to use a pseudonym to protect their identity.)

“I have to take a nap during the day”

Lynn (not her real name) has been dealing with chronic pain and sleeping problems since 2013, when a backpack incident caused a spinal injury that required two surgeries. As a result, she is often tired during the day and found that she was not at her best, especially after lunch when the tiredness often set in.

“When I’m in meetings and people ask me questions, I can’t answer the answer right away [or I] say the wrong things, ”she says. She was uncomfortable talking to her boss or coworker about the issues she was facing and has struggled with anxiety, depression, and hair loss in recent years due to her sleep problems. But during the pandemic, she was able to adjust her schedule to take a nap during her lunch break and get regular rest when needed. (Research tells us that naps are good for our brains.)

Her productivity has skyrocketed since she started working from home – and her manager noticed and started complimenting her on her work. She feels sharper and healthier. Her biggest concern right now is that she will have to give up the balance that has finally been found.

“I would give up my raise to work remotely”

Melvin Gonzalez, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for Inc and Go, an online business formation website, faces a dilemma. “I love my career, love my job, and have incredible benefits, including a lifelong pension – something very rare in today’s workforce,” he says. “But as with everything in life, I have to pay a price: my way to work,” he says. Gonzalez drives two hours each way, which adds up to more than 20 hours a week commuting to and from work.

Gonzalez said he never really thought about how much time he spent commuting until he was working from home during the pandemic. He used the extra time – the equivalent of a part-time job – to hit the gym, hang out with his wife and kids, and still get on with his job.

Now that he’s about to return to the office, he’s not ready to give up this time. He and his colleagues have shared their concerns with their employer, but he doesn’t think working remotely will continue to be an option. He says he’s even willing to forego a raise to keep his flexibility. “This has surely become my main concern when I go back to the office,” he says. “I think my working mood will not be the same.”

“I’m in recovery”

Until the pandemic broke out, Frank (not his real name) worked in a high-end Philadelphia restaurant. What his colleagues didn’t know at the time was that he was struggling with alcoholism. The environment where he had free access to alcohol and colleagues who liked to have a drink after work made it difficult for him to quit.

But while many saw their substance abuse problems increase during the isolation of the pandemic, James managed to get his addiction under control, he says. Now that the restaurant is resuming full service and inviting him to return to his old job, he has concerns about whether this will jeopardize his recovery. “Most people do not recover because they are not ready to change their lifestyle,” he says. If he refuses to go back to his old job, money will be tight, but he’s pretty sure he will make it. “Also, I don’t want to admit in front of all of my colleagues that I’m an alcoholic,” he says.

“I don’t want to give up my sideline job”

“My reluctance is really the opportunity cost of commuting,” says Shondra (not her real name), a PR expert in New York City. Before she was released in April 2020, she woke up at 6 a.m. to have enough time to get ready, walk her dog, commute, and start work at 10 a.m. proved lucrative – and she could do that from home without any problems.

Shondra has a new employer, but the plan of whether employees will have to be back in the office full time is “very unclear,” she says. For now, she has a lot of time to do her duties for her employer and work on her freelance projects. That won’t be the case when she returns to her long commute. In addition, the thought of being on public transport with so many other people makes her pause for safety reasons, she says.

She waits to see what happens, but is reluctant to give up the freelance work that her layoffs brought her. “It gave me the opportunity to build a nice nest egg in case – God forbid – something like that happens again,” she says. “I don’t want to miss this opportunity by having to return to the office full-time.”