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Go Back to the Office? Some employees would rather quit

Feb 10, 2021

After a year of on-and-off remote work, bringing employees back into the office is going to require careful planning for businesses.

Making employees actually want to return to their desks looks set to be a challenge for many organisations.

According to a recent survey, nearly one third (29%) of working professionals would quit their job if they were told they were no longer allowed to work remotely.

Back to Office - COVID 19 Businesses

The survey, which quizzed over 1,000 professionals about their experience with remote working, also found that workers were likely to prioritise job opportunities that allowed more flexibility, with 62% saying they would give preference to employers who offered remote work.

Despite 81% of employees saying they enjoyed working remotely, and 61% expressing a desire to continue working in a remote capacity after the pandemic is over, only 45% of those polled said that remote work had not taken a toll on their mental wellbeing.

Clearly, the ideal situation is about balance: employees want the option to work remotely, while also having a shared workspace that they can use when needed.

 

It's all about flexibility

"Employees now expect to be able to work flexibly," says Brian Kropp, chief of HR research at Gartner. "They feel they should be able to decide where and when they work. And if they are not given that choice, some will look for other employers that do offer that.

"Flexibility over where they work will be viewed as a basic component of the employment deal. Those who don’t offer it will have a harder time hiring and retaining employees."

Office return - COVID 19 business

 


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Safety is key

One major factor employers need to address to make the return to office life more appealing is safety.

"As employers encourage their employees to return to the office, data tells us that transparent communication around the measures being taken to support employee safety is critical," says Greg Turner, senior director of technical services, at Honeywell Building Technologies.

According to a survey of 2,000 workers in the UK, US, Germany and the Middle East between November and December 2020, nearly one in four (23%) remote workers would look for a new job rather than return to a workplace that they felt was unsafe, with 68% reporting that they did not feel completely safe working in their employer's buildings.

Temperature-Screening-Procedure

"People want to go back to in-person interactions and collaboration, that's for sure. But they have also found the benefits of working remotely and many are nervous to return to working in close quarters," says Turner.

"Employees will want to know they are safer and buildings will need to provide the data to provide reassurance."

In fact, there should be measures to tackle COVID-19 directly - such as health screening and temperature checks.

 

Only time will tell

If 2020 taught us anything, it was that trying to predict when things might return to some form of normality is pointless.

Many assumed that remote working would be short-lived, and that we'd all be back at our desks alongside our colleagues before the end of the year.

Looking ahead to 2021, we're back to playing the guessing game. There's clearly a desire to return to the office in some capacity, yet workers also relish the feeling of empowerment that their new, digital, flexible lifestyle brings.

Businesses may find that the longer it takes them to make offices safe, rewarding and valuable places to work, the harder it will be to wrangle employees back to their desks.

 


Work from Home instead...

Provide your workforce with the right tools to work from home.

Our Work from Home All-in-One Solution can help keep your team safe and work from anywhere.

  • Trusted technology
  • Free Unlimited Calls
  • All the equipment you need
  • Dedicated support from our care team

 

Click here to find out more →

 


 

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