Still Working From Home? Why You Might Be Forced Back Into the Office

COVID: The pandemic that locked us in our rooms for two years and the gift that normalised working from home. Hey, when you have sour grapes, make the best of your prison wine. Right?

Moreover, even in 2023, it can be just a joy to work from home. Doing some Excel sheets in your boxer shorts? Hilarious. Having an ice cream in the bath during lunchtime? The dream. 

However, as we get further and further away from the worst of the COVID pandemic, some businesses are capping their employee’s working-from-home hours. This can be demonstrated in a bit of survey data that Robert Half released. 

In 2023, Robert Half asked 300 Aussie business leaders if their staff were required to spend more days in the office this year. And in NSW, 63% of respondents said yes. Meanwhile, in Western Australia, 55% of respondents said yes. In both Queensland and Victoria, 60% of respondents said yes. 

But why do our businesses want their employees back in the workplace? Wouldn’t it be better to scrap renting an office and use that cash to improve wages? Whelp, some companies believe that having a shared workspace improves their company’s culture, helps with overall productivity, and boosts employee wellbeing, according to the report.

It’s worth noting though that plenty of employees still want to work from home. In fact, some folks may actually leave their job if this option is taken away from them, the survey indicates.

This means that employers have to offer the right mix of “working from home hours” and “working from the office” to their employees. 

“As organisations continue to learn and evaluate how working from the office and working from home can affect attraction and retention, it has become apparent that a more efficient balance must be achieved,” said Nicole Gorton, the Director of Robert Half.

“Flexibility will continue to be highly valued by employees, but different and sometimes more tailored approaches to the hybrid model could be a solid strategy for protecting workplaces from the drawbacks of remote working while still allowing employees to reap the many benefits of greater workplace flexibility.

“If companies fail to have such a balance, employers run the risk of losing staff and struggling to secure new candidates at a time when a tight labour market continues.”

Related: The Five Key Takeaways from the Latest Census Data

Related: Aussies Are Unlikely to Ever Return to the Office Full-Time

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