• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

More than four in every 10 companies no longer expect their staff to show up to the office.

A survey of nearly 1200 companies, conducted by the Australian HR Institute in July, found just 4 per cent required employees to work in the office full-time.

Of those surveyed, 7 per cent of organisations allowed employees to work from home continuously, while 34 per cent had no set number of days required in the office but did encourage it.

The average proportion of employees working continuously from home has increased from 5 per cent before the pandemic to 18 per cent.

Almost 30 per cent of companies are requiring a minimum of three days a week in the office and 16 per cent request two days.

More than half of the organisations revealed they were offering incentives to lure staff back to the office, such as social events and free coffee or meals.

Those surveyed reported that before the pandemic, on average 23 per cent of employees worked from home at least one day a week. Now it’s 58 per cent.

More than half of the human resources professionals surveyed expected that working from home or remote working arrangements would remain the same over the next two years, while 25 per cent predicted that the rate of working from home and remote working would increase.

This is despite 65 per cent of them reporting that employees were feeling disconnected from their colleagues due to work from home arrangements.

AHRI chief executive Sarah McCann-Bartlett said the survey results showed companies needed to invest more resources into redesigning work processes to adapt.

“Most organisations are thinking about hybrid work only in terms of location, but there

are other factors that need to be considered,” she said.

“Hybrid work models need to be designed with connection in mind. And those connections need to be meaningful.”

Flexible working arrangements do not just include working from home.

Almost 30 per cent of companies said they were planning to introduce or expand compressed hours, like a four-day work week or nine-day fortnight.

Work from home demand

“Work from home” is the top keyword searched on employment marketplace Seek, with many jobseekers choosing to search it over any job title or industry.

“Instead of just searching for … a software programming job, instead of putting those words into the keyword search, they’re putting work from home,” Seek senior economist Matt Cowgill told news.com.au.

“People are telling us as well when we ask them that they are likely to resign and look for a different job if work from home isn’t offered.”

In a survey done by the company in May, 61 per cent of jobseekers said this.

But while the demand for remote working is clear, it is not reflected in the number of employers actually including “work from home” in their job ads – less than 5 per cent in fact do so.

“We have seen a significant rise in the proportion of jobs ads that say that people are able to work from home but it’s still perhaps surprisingly small overall,” Mr Cowgill said.

“We’re only seeing approximately 5 per cent of job ads on our platform explicitly mentioning those words and phrases – work from home, WFH, that type of thing.”

Mr Cowgill expected there would be more employers willing to offer flexibility but have not explicitly stated it in their job ads.

It was also noted that not all ads on the site could offer remote working due to the nature of the work.

Mr Cowgill said the mention of work from home in job ads is predominantly for the jobs you would expect – public service roles and white-collar professions.

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