A survey compiled by business networking giants Linkedin has revealed that a third of workers would rather quit than return to the office full-time.
Since the COVID pandemic hit in early 2020, hybrid working (usually a combination of days in the office and days working spent working from home) has become common practice in workplaces up and down the UK. Statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggest that 78 percent of organisations offer some form of hybrid working. However, Linkedin’s own data shows that a growing number of employers are considering reverting back to pre-pandemic arrangements.
Three in 10 business respondents said they planned to get home workers back in the office, with ‘productivity paranoia’ blamed for the shift in attitudes.
Productivity paranoia occurs when execs worry that home workers are less productive than those that spend more time in the office. Data published by Microsoft outlined the problem: in a survey of 20,000 people taken across 11 countries, 85 percent of senior leaders admitted that hybrid work makes it ‘challenging’ to have confidence that staff are being as productive as they were.
However, Linkedin’s own figures paint a different perspective amongst employees, with 58 percent saying that their productivity would drop if flexible working was reduced or stopped by their employers.
The Workers Union Says…
In the post-pandemic world, many employees are used to arranging work around their commitments at home and are unwilling to give up what they see as a better work/life balance. At the same time, technology will continue to erode the idea that productive workers are those chained to plastic desks under sickly strip lighting.
Successful businesses are flexible animals that recognise this shift and respond to market conditions in intelligent ways. They invest in people and process in the knowledge that happy staff work harder and buy into the company vision. Implicit within this is the idea that sometimes, trading conditions require staff to change their working patterns. But senior execs need a set of better reasons to get workers back in the office than basic paranoia. This mindset ignores the very real benefits of home working and is a backward step towards command and control and away from innovation and enterprise.