FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — Labor Day marks the time when we usually get back into our work routines for the fall season, but changing workstyles during the pandemic and a tight labor market are making this post-labor day season different from the past.

There’s a new dynamic in the workforce as summer vacation fades into, what has traditionally been a 9 to 5, five-day-a-week work routine. The pandemic altered that structure. Just ask Nissa Quill, a Frederick County school teacher

“Now people can work from home and if school systems aren’t able to meet the kinds of salaries that they want, often – especially early and mid-career people can make the same amount of money working from home,” said Quill.

That gives workers in a stretched-thin workforce options they didn’t have pre-pandemic. Many only want to come back to the office a few days a week instead of Monday through Friday, and some are rethinking the typical 9 to 5 schedule, asking for 10 to 3 — or employers would have to find somebody else.

For a young mom it might not be as attractive to come back to teaching because they might be able to get an online job making the same amount of money,” Quill said.

Quill’s husband is a professional in the construction industry and sees firsthand how employees are able to demand more flexibility

“The work at home period of the pandemic was a real inflection point because I think a lot of people got used to working at home. Once you show that something can be done it’s hard to say you can’t do it,” said Guthrie Quill, an industrial safety engineer.

Gutherie is hearing a lot of new recruits in his line of work telling a prospective employer, “‘I don’t understand why I just can’t keep working from home,’ so I think that’s going to be a challenge going forward.”

Employees are now in the position of demanding such perks and reimbursement for gas or commuter rail tickets to come to the office, free parking or the option to work from a satellite office closer to home.

Employers may prefer that workers be back in the office, but in this economy, the employee has the upper hand.

In the D.C. metropolitan area, cutbacks in Metrorail service are giving workers leverage to insist on working from home since wait times for trains have been extended adding to the hassle of commuting to the office.