- Employers who want to see their offices filled again could see some workers quit.
- Sixty-four percent of workers around the world said they would think about a new job if they had to go back full-time.
- Younger workers are especially inclined to quit over returning to the office, according to a survey from ADP Research Institute.
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Companies who are demanding workers back at the office every day may actually see their workers join the Great Resignation instead. It may especially be a challenge to get Gen Z workers to work in person all the time.
That's based on survey findings from ADP Research Institute. The new report, "People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View", included results from a November 2021 survey of over 32,000 workers in 17 countries. The countries surveyed include the US, India, and the Netherlands.
According to the survey, 71% of 18 to 24 year olds said that "if my employer insisted on me returning to my workplace full-time, I would consider looking for another job." That's a higher rate than among older workers. Overall, ADP Research Institute found 64% of the workforce said this.
"I think that for them, for this segment of workers, the change from workplace to home was probably pretty natural," Nela Richardson, the chief economist at ADP and co-author of the report, told Insider about younger workers. "It probably felt like an extension of their social lives in some sense, because they hadn't yet been cemented by the workplace. And so the challenges of going back to work are more formidable."
"These are young workers who never really got their foot in the door and honestly don't know what they are missing in terms of the workplace," Richardson added.
They may be missing out on building relationships with coworkers or the social element of working in an office, as well as learning by just observing their coworkers. But some Gen Zers don't mind not being in the office.
Additionally, Richardson said that 71% could also be because "across the board we're seeing workers place more value and priority on time."
These young workers may have joined the workforce during the pandemic, where remote work has become more common. They may have become used to seeing coworkers through screens and not having to wake up early to sit at an office desk.
It's not just Gen Z who may throw in the towel and apply to a new job if they have to go into the workplace daily.
Take parents, for instance. The flexibility of remote or hybrid work may be beneficial for taking care of their children in between meetings or being able to not have to commute into the office and take care of their children when they're sick.
Whether it's Gen Z or a parent, companies who want workers to return may see turnover. One person who quit after her push back to return to the office wasn't successful shared with Insider why she left.
"I didn't want to be at a company where leadership was so unwilling to listen to their employees and control was more important than keeping your people happy," she told Insider.
More flexibility in work hours and locations could be a way to attract and retain workers hesitant to go back in the office full-time.
"If you look at the survey, it's not necessarily that people want to just work at home, it's that they want more flexibility in their work day," Richardson said.
"We've seen the blurring of the lines between work and home," Richardson said. "And that's probably something that persists that people don't just forget about their life when they go to work. And so accommodating that more for younger workers is probably the future of work that should be addressed."
Some people who don't want to commute to their workplaces all the time may even consider a pay cut, according to the report.
"If it came to it, employees are prepared to make compromises if it meant more flexibility or a hybrid approach to work location with more than half (52%) willing to accept a pay cut – as much as 11% – to guarantee this arrangement," a press release about the new report said.
Although companies may wish their employees make a return to the office full time, people seem to be doing ok remotely. According to the survey, 64% of those working from home say they talk about career progression with their employer compared to 43% of those working on-premise. Two-thirds of remote workers also said their contributions are recognised versus just over half of those working on-premise.
"It's great that remote workers feel like they're well paid and compensated, and that they have good career progression, but what we don't want to do is lose out on the people who have to go into the office," Richardson said, adding that remote jobs "tend to be more knowledge jobs."
"And so that dichotomy between people who have to go into the office and who don't, I think companies should be aware and make sure that they are providing the same employee experience and career progression to their on-site workers as they are their remote workers to keep those workers engaged and retained."