A new report has shown that despite much corporate discussion about “the new normal” close to half of all workers have returned to work full time, with most wishing they had flexible work options.
New data shows managers and workers hold differing views about productivity and why people want to work from home, with almost all workers believing flexible work to be essential to their professional future.
The report, titled “The Office Clash: How back to work policies are dividing management and workers”, released by RMIT Online on Wednesday, found a person’s role in the company was the biggest influence on their attitude to hybrid work models.
“This survey reveals significant frictions between the top leadership and employees who don’t have managerial responsibilities,” RMIT Online Interim CEO Claire Hopkins said.
“There is a clear disagreement about hybrid work, the flexibility companies are willing to implement and what workers want.”
The report found almost half of workers, 44 per cent, had returned to the office full time, however 71 per cent would prefer to have one day working from home, and 56 per cent wanted two or more days at home.
The majority of workers, 89 per cent, said their organisations wanted them back at the office as much as possible, and 91 per cent of workers wanted more flexibility.
The most significant factor impacting differing views on hybrid work were people’s roles in a company, the report found.
Managers and workers held different views on productivity, why people wanted hybrid work models, and why companies wanted people at the office.
Other factors impacting attitudes to hybrid work included age, length of commute and the company’s current working models.
In the management cohort, 58 per cent believed workers could be equally productive at home or in the office, but a quarter, 24 per cent, said workers were more effective at work.
Conversely, only 12 per cent of workers believed they were more effective at the office.
The overwhelming majority of workers, 93 per cent, said flexibility was essential when deciding whether to take a new job or stay in their current role.
More than a quarter of staff, 27 per cent, believed their company did not know why they deemed their office essential – and a return to the office was motivated by a need to physically present success.
Close to half of those surveyed, 46 per cent, said hybrid work was here to stay and would be central to work for the foreseeable future.
Some 31 per cent said offices will become decentralised.
The report also found one in three managers had already lost, and risk losing further staff through their rigid workplace policies.
(Australian Associated Press)