Aussies want hybrid work arrangements

A number of recent surveys showed that many Australian employees want to retain the flexibility of working from home (WFH) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is particularly strong support for a hybrid work model, whereby people only work in the office for part of the week.

A survey released last week by professional services firm PwC showed that around three-quarters of surveyed workers want to split their work time between the home and the office.

Another new survey conducted on behalf of the Property Council has found that CBD-based workers favour being in the office for three days a week, with Mondays and Fridays being the least popular choices:

70 per cent of CBD office workers expect they will continue to work from home at least part of the week post-pandemic.

The top aspects of working onsite include social interactions, collaboration opportunities, and greater separation of work and home life.

Surveyed CBD workers expect to work onsite on average 3.3 days, with Mondays and Fridays the least preferred days to attend the office.

I went to a ‘dad’s night’ at my daughters school last Friday where I asked dozens of people whether they wanted to return to the office full time. Every single one of them said ‘no’, with all wanting to work some type of hybrid model whereby they split time between the home and the office.

The reasons were almost always the same: time and cost savings from not having to commute and flexibility. A few people also cited cost savings from not having to pay for childcare or nannies.

I have asked many others the same types of questions since the pandemic began and there hasn’t been a single case where someone wanted to return to the office full time.

The surveys and my anecdata suggest that WFH is a permanent structural shift that will live long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Charles MartinMEMBER

    Surely profits, rising house prices and peoples wellbeing and benefits to family life by WFH can co-exist.

    • But what about all that very expensive Commercial Real Estate that all of a sudden looks a whole lot less necessary (and by association, less valuable)…?

      Smart companies know once the pandemic passes they can hot desk people and really make some good savings on the exorbitant rents/leases they pay.

      • Smart companies are planning to divest a lot of office space once leases expire.

        Two of my mates are CFO’s. Both have separately told me that WFH is a structural shift for their companies because productivity has remained the same if not increased and their people are much happier. One of them has put forward a strategy to not renew the lease on 6 floors of office space in Sydney CBD and Parramatta. That’s almost half their footprint. They will also be looking at leasing a smaller number of regional hubs as a large number of their staff have moved out of Sydney and it makes more financial sense to have somewhere within a commutable distance a few days per week rather than fly in and out or drive in and pay for accommodation.

      • Strange EconomicsMEMBER

        The government endless dwells on getting people back to the CBD to support the overcapitalised CBD business (and the office rents). But our suburban coffee shops are booming with the WFH crowd. There’s no economic need for a CBD now really.

  2. pfh007.comMEMBER

    If you are an employer think twice before signing people to 3/2 arrangements.

    Best to keep the job office based and deal with WFH as an exercise of discretion.

    If you run into problems being able to require a return to the office can be very important.

  3. Professor DemographyMEMBER

    The potential longer term productivity improvements via direct/indirect means such as infrastructure, congestion, time, pollution, are staggering. If it persists we will also see a range of economic and business patterns to match the lifestyle patterns it allows too. Could really be a great time to forge some new interesting businesses too.

  4. JunkyardMEMBER

    Yep massive cost savings. Plus I have a young family and I’ve seen my kids more in the last 12 months than the previous 5 years combined.

    It great being able to actually watch your kids grow up. Not keen to give 100 percent of that away again.

  5. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I’ve been told by successful executives that they know who the bludgers are, the ones wanting WFH!

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        LOLOLOL. No. They are high achievers and always strive for maximum success criteria. They will be winners in any environment. See, that’s the thing about natural born success!!

          • You must be new here? One doesn’t need drudgery of 9-5 employment when your occupation is RE investor and organiser of relations parties.

          • No I’m familiar with the character Reus plays in the comments. The one that is supposedly rich but has to pay for sex (clearly he’s no oil painting).

  6. Next year my workplace is moving to a new purpose built office space that doesn’t have desks for all workers. It is mostly meeting spaces. The intention is for people to work from home and come in for weekly face to face meetings. A few hot desks will be available for people who aren’t prepared to provide themselves with a home office. I’m fairly sure other office-based entities will have the same idea.

  7. CaptainFooBarMEMBER

    My workplace has embraced the WFH by outsourcing almost all of it’s IT and back office jobs to India and the Philippines and making lots OZ workers redundant. Currently I WFH at least three days a week however the vultures from management are circling and I feel the writing is on the wall. So there are benefits if you can keep your job.

  8. I now work Mondays and Friday exclusively from the lineup at my favourite surf break. my morale has never been higher

  9. I did 8mons of WFH and I started hitting the gym 3x a week. turned my life around. Now its 5d in Twiggy’s Office, and I am reverting back to a teletub. 🙁

  10. If your job supports wfh then it also supports wfalowwagecompany. Be careful what we wish for.