Small businesses need to take action to introduce permanent hybrid or remote work options for employees, or risk losing them, according to new research into remote work.
The 2022 Remote Work Report, released on Wednesday by people management platform Employment Hero, found 50% of hybrid and remote workers would consider quitting their jobs if their employer directed them to return to the office on a full-time basis.
The percentage is even higher for millennials, with 61% more likely to throw in the towel.
The report surveyed 1000 knowledge workers across Australia, whose jobs require them to work predominantly on a computer. It revealed many employees are using remote and hybrid working conditions to relocate further from the office.
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In fact, since working remotely, 64% of workers have at least considered relocating further away from the office or taking a working holiday and 76% of workers would consider working remotely on a permanent basis.
Employment Hero chief people officer Alex Hattingh says the writing is on the wall for employers who have a choice to make when it comes to providing remote working arrangements.
“There is evidence that remote work provides benefits that an office attendance mandate simply can’t match. It is important to care about employees’ financial health and overall wellbeing in the current economic climate, and one of the ways to do this is by giving trust and freedom,” Hattingh said in a statement.
“With the cost of living situation worsening, embracing hybrid and remote work makes sense for a happy and productive team, which all businesses aim to achieve.
“The icing on the cake of giving employees the option of flexible work conditions is that they will thrive more from both a mental health and work-life balance perspective.
The Remote Work Report also explored how remote and hybrid work prioritises work-life balance by protecting mental health and high productivity levels.
At least 47% of respondents agreed ‘hybrid working’ is better for their work-life balance, with 46% stating that it is better for their mental health and 37% agreeing it improves productivity levels. Additionally, 34% of respondents stated ‘remote working’ is better for work-life balance.
Hattingh says with the future of work undeniably hybrid and remote, employers need to look at how they can better support their teams to work to their full potential in each of these spaces.
“This includes providing employees with extra training, career development, and social inclusion strategies to ensure all workers, particularly those from marginalised groups, aren’t disadvantaged in the long term,” she said.
However, some employees included in the survey still see the benefit of working in an office environment, with 37% stating their productivity levels are better when working in a hybrid environment. Another 33% said their productivity benefits from working in the office and 43% who have returned to the office cited their employer as their reason.