Do employers favour the return of their staff to the workplace full-time? According to the Best Practice Institute’s research, the majority (83%) of employers are in favour of this move, yet only 10% of employees are in agreement.
In this article, we examine the increasing disparity between employees and employers with regard to their perspectives on the future of work, and we provide insights from experts at Amazon and Cushman & Wakefield.
Only 10% of workers would want to return to a full-time office job.
Recent research suggests that a new phenomenon, referred to as “COVID Anxiety Syndrome,” may impede people’s ability to return to their pre-pandemic lives even after the virus has been subdued. Symptoms of this condition include fear of public places and excessive cleaning habits. Furthermore, returning to the workplace appears to be a cause of distress for many individuals; a survey has found that two thirds of respondents have expressed concern over the potential health risks associated with it.
Employees from a wide range of professions and salary levels, such as software engineering, analytics, legal administration, and corporate office functions, are all expressing similar concerns about the challenges of transitioning back to a traditional workplace environment. Remote work is a stark contrast to the culture of the white-collar office, which has traditionally placed work above all else. Those who work from home have the opportunity to craft their job to fit the demands of their health, family, and any disabilities that may be present, allowing them to more easily balance their personal and professional lives.
Despite the fact that more than half of the employees surveyed by PwC stated they would refuse to work for a business that does not provide workplace flexibility, there is still the possibility that such a company could require its workers to stay in the office. However, it appears that a significant number of these individuals would be willing to accept a reduction in salary in order to work remotely. Specifically, 41% of those surveyed indicated they were open to a pay cut if it meant they could work from home.
Meanwhile, 83% of CEOs want full-time staff back
In spite of some resistance from employees, there are a number of companies that are anxious to bring back their workplaces on a permanent basis. Sandeep Mathrani, Chief Executive Officer of WeWork, recently commented that it is mainly those who are the least invested in their jobs who are content to continue working from home.
According to Cathy Merrill, CEO of Washingtonian Media, employees who request to work from home on a permanent basis may risk being reclassified as contractors, resulting in a loss of income, benefits, and prestige. In response to her opinion piece, members of the Twitter community, as well as Washingtonian Media employees, initiated a protest by abstaining from posting on the platform for a day.
Likewise, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has asserted that remote labour is “an aberration that needs to be addressed urgently.” This sentiment has been echoed by Urs Holzle, a high-ranking Google executive who was initially opposed to remote work opportunities for lower-level employees, who has since gone to New Zealand to work remotely himself.
Leaders at Amazon, Cushman & Wakefield think that brilliance will triumph
Leaders from prominent companies including Amazon and Cushman & Wakefield discussed the potential for workplace transformation in the post-pandemic era at the Works‘ conference. Gabe Burke, Managing Director at Cushman & Wakefield, commented that, “if the talent pool insists on a hybrid or remote working arrangement then most firms will eventually comply with their request.” Hetal Shah concurred, adding that organisations that do not provide flexibility may see an increase in staff turnover. Consequently, the loss of competent workers could ultimately lead to the necessity for change.
Gabe recently mentioned a survey conducted by Littler which highlighted the discrepancy between what employers believe and what employees are actually choosing. According to the poll, 71% of employees are choosing mixed employment, meaning a combination of in-office and remote work, while only 4% are selecting full-time, in-office jobs. Despite this, roughly 30% of businesses are still hoping to have their employees return to full-time, in-office work.
In recent times, there has been a stark contrast between what employers and employees desire when it comes to remote working. While some businesses have already adopted the idea of remote working as the new norm, others are still reluctant to make the switch. Nevertheless, experts are in agreement that companies will eventually have to transition to remote working in order to attract and retain the best talent.