The return resistance

A new survey finds 1 in 3 workers may quit if required to return to the office full time

WITH ONTARIO’S LOCKDOWN 3.0 now in force, many companies are looking to the upcoming warmer-weather months as a turning point, a time where vaccination percentages reach a level that permits full re-openings, normalized commerce and a call for workers to come back to the office.

But will they readily return?

Perhaps not, says a new study by global staffing firm Robert Half.

“Companies should be prepared for a potential disconnect between their ideal work structures and that of their employees” ―David King

The study, which presents opinions of more than 500 surveyed workers 18 years of age or older at companies in Canada, shows that about one in three professionals (33 per cent) currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time.

What Workers Want

More than half of all employees surveyed (51 per cent) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide time between the office and another location.

Professionals also expressed the following hesitations about working from home full time, underscoring the need for organizations to offer flexibility:

• Relationships with co-workers could suffer: 39 per cent;

• Fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility: 21 per cent;

• Decreased productivity while at home: 16 per cent.

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In addition, workers may not be ready to return to the office, and employers may want to consider what could help ease their transition back on-site. Professionals said the top ways their company can support them include:

• Freedom to set preferred office hours;

• Employer-paid commuting costs;

• A personal, distraction-free workspace;

• Relaxed dress code;

• Employer-provided childcare.

“After more than a year of uncertainty and pandemic-induced remote work, there is a growing desire among some business leaders to return to business as usual, including welcoming employees back to the office once it is considered safe,” says David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. “However, companies should be prepared for a potential disconnect between their ideal work structures and that of their employees.

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“As we reimagine the future of work, now is the time for managers to engage in mindful discussions with their teams to determine what they most want and need,” adds King. “Establishing a return-to-work plan that prioritizes employee health and well-being and fosters a strong corporate culture can help bolster retention and recruitment efforts.” The return resistance return Entrepreneurship

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