Managers are lagging other employees in the rush back to the office, new WFH data shows

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As Australian company leaders usher employees back into the office, new research suggests managers are still spending more time working from home than their colleagues.

A new survey from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney Business School found managers spent an average of 2.77 days working from home per fortnight in September.

That figure is significantly higher than the average across all occupation groups of 2.13 days every two weeks.

Only the ‘Professional’ occupation class logged a higher rate of working from home than managers, recording 2.92 days outside of the office a fortnight.

Managers are returning to the office slower than their colleagues too, the data adds.

Managers spent 3.21 days working from home every fortnight in March, meaning their WFH frequency declined 13.7% over six months.

But across all occupation categories, the average number of WFH days each fortnight declined 18.3% over the same time period.

Showcasing the rapid advance of e-commerce solutions, the rate of sales people working from home actually increased between each survey, but still sat comfortably below other occupation groups.

Source: Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, University of Sydney Business School

The findings may tease out a difference in how company managers view remote and hybrid work for employees, and how they choose to operate themselves.

Australia is a global hybrid working leader, with one Adaptavist report suggesting 34% of all workers split their working hours between home and the office in recent months.

Workers with those allowances are reluctant to give them up, too: an Employment Hero report covering 1000 Australian knowledge workers found half would consider quitting if directed to work from the office full-time.

The new University of Sydney data suggests managers are among those who appreciate the benefits of working from home.

However, despite this significant preference for hybrid working options, many still appear suspicious of workers who get the job done outside of centralised offices.

A recent Microsoft survey of more than 20,000 people worldwide found “productivity paranoia” still exists among company leaders, with 85% of survey respondents saying the shift to hybrid work has diminished confidence in employee productivity.

Managers overseeing hybrid workers were less likely to trust their employees to do their best work from home than in-person managers, the Microsoft survey added.


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