One thing that workers across the world are united about is a preference to work from home in the future of work.
According to research by RingCentral, 66% of UK employees would prefer to work from home full time, rather than return to the office full time. This is the same for 60% of Australian workers and around one in three German employees.
In addition, 65% in the UK would choose to perform undesirable tasks over commuting; in fact, 37% would choose to clean their own toilet rather than commute to the office.
US workers surveyed by RingCentral agreed; 40% would rather clean their toilet home than return to the office.
To show how serious employees are about location flexibility at work, 25% of UK workers and one in three US employees told RingCentral said they would leave their job if forced to return to the office.
This rose to 43% for Gen Z and millennials across the world (33% for millennials and 32% for Gen Z in the UK), compared to only 24% of boomers and Gen X.
Therefore, RingCentral’s studies are yet more proof that a lack of workplace flexibility is fueling the ‘Great Resignation’ globally.
Central to employee preference around working from home is social anxiety, according to RingCentral. In the UK, 47% of those surveyed are anxious about meeting colleagues in person.
Divergence between employees and decision-makers
Interestingly, RingCentral’s research found that business decision-makers did not share employees’ worries about returning to the office.
46% of decision-makers from across the world felt isolated and lonely, compared to only 34% of employees.
In fact, 60% of US workers told RingCentral they did not feel isolated working from home and 69% felt they built as good connections with colleagues over video calls as they did in person.
Therefore, it is no surprise that decision-makers to connect more employees and so want to return to the office. Only 16% of workers agreed.
While workers are socially anxious about returning to the office and meeting new colleagues, 59% of decision-makers have never met their colleagues in person and this is pushing them to go back to the office. RingCentral found that only 36% of workers thought the same.
RingCentral country manager for UKI Steve Rafferty commented: “It’s all very well to flippantly say that workers should ‘get off their Pelotons’ and return to the office, but for many individuals, the introduction of a hybrid working model has been a lifeline.
“Giving people flexibility to manage work around other commitments helps to boost work-life balance, and supports those who may have challenges such as mental health concerns.
“What’s more, the last 18 months have proven that with the right collaboration tools, it is possible not only to build highly productive teams, but also meaningful human connections with colleagues to generate positive working relationships.
RingCentral’s Gunjan Aggarwal, executive vice president and chief people officer, added: “The data also supports the narrative that if organizations do not proactively co-create with their employees a new hybrid model focused on productivity and engagement, some employees will leave their organizations and others will feel disenfranchised.
“There is no doubt that the future of work will be hybrid but what’s becoming clear is that employees will have a bigger say, than ever before, on what that flexibility and hybrid work means to them and suits their needs.”
We are truly living in a world where employees, particularly younger generations, have the power. Get with the times, employers.
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