Employees Divided on Return to Office
June 01, 2022
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Offices around the world continue to open for business, and while many companies expect employees will eventually return full time, new research suggests this isn't likely to happen.

According to a global survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Citrix Systems, employees are divided on how they want to work going forward. But one thing is clear: the majority enjoy the flexibility they've been given to work from anywhere and are willing to leave jobs to maintain it. Of 6,500 workers polled in ten countries, 57% prefer hybrid work, and 69% will ditch their current positions if it isn't an option.

"Employees have seen the positive impact flexible work can have on everything from engagement and productivity to work-life balance, mental health and the environment," said Traci Palmer, VP of People and Organization Capability, Citrix. "And they are looking to employers to embrace it and invest in tools and processes that empower them to work when, where and how they work best."

The flexible work model is in full effect. Of those employees surveyed in the US, UK, France, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Japan:

■ 71% work or plan to work in the office between one and four days per week

■ 56% are or plan to be in the office full time

■ 49% work from shared and communal workspaces between one and four days per week

■ 49% are fully remote and plan to be permanently

"Work today is not a place," Palmer said. "It's about where employees get their best work done, and that can be at home, in the office, on the road and anywhere in between."

Every employee is different, and companies need to recognize and accommodate their unique wants and needs if they hope to attract and retain the people they need to support their business. For instance, many respondents to the survey want to work from home at least part of the time for the following reasons:

■ Better work-life balance (42%)

■ Save time and costs associated with commuting (35%)

■ Fewer distractions (20%)

■ More productive (20%)

■ Colleagues/manager are not in the office (19%)

■ Don' t have a dedicated space in the office (7%)

■ Restaurants and amenities near office are limited or closed (6%)

Other respondents indicated they would like to head to the office at least once a week for the following reasons:

■ Feel more productive and engaged (36%)

■ Colleagues/manager are there (36%)

■ Better access to information (33%)

■ Provides a separation between work and home life (29%)

■ Access to better technology (28%)

■ Less distractions (25%)

■ Greater collaboration (24%)

■ Better opportunities to develop/advance career (16%) 

■ Technology needed to facilitate hybrid work is too complicated — dialing in remote workers, sharing presentations and files, etc. (14%)

■ No dedicated workspace at home (13%)

In addition to where they work, employees who participated in the survey also want flexibility in when they work:

■ 30% want the freedom to choose how often they work in the office as opposed to the company mandating a set number of days

■ 76% would work a four-day week if they could maintain their salaries

"Giving employees the flexibility to match their work environment and schedules to the outcomes they are trying to deliver gives them the space to succeed," Palmer said

And if the survey is any indication, companies will need to do it if they hope to attract and retain the talent they need to move their business forward. As the numbers reveal:

■ 17% of employees polled view flexibility as more important than salary

■ 69% would consider leaving their job if it isn't offered

"Hybrid work is the foundation on which the future of work will be built, and companies that recognize this and put processes and technologies in place to support it can cultivate the flexible, agile and empowered workforce they need to innovate and grow," Palmer said.

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