Back to the office? How employers are struggling to satisfy their workers

58% of employees say they find it hard to get their work done at the office. — AFP Relaxnews

Numerous surveys on employees’ attitudes to work have highlighted their growing dissatisfaction with the corporate world as it was before the pandemic. As a result, they are increasingly picky about their working conditions.

However, according to a recent survey, employers are failing to recognise the drivers behind workers’ reluctance to return to the office.

Unispace surveyed 9,600 employees in 17 countries around the world, as well as 6,650 employers, to find out about their current habits and motivations. It found that perceptions differ between the two camps, particularly when it comes to working on-site.

While the pandemic may have weakened ties with the office, employers are striving to reconcile home working addicts with the company premises. And with good reason, since three out of four companies surveyed say they have increased their real estate portfolio over the past two years.

And these are brand-new spaces they’d like to see filled. But workers don’t see it that way, with 51% of them still reluctant to return to the office.

But what is causing this reluctance?

First and foremost, the company premises themselves. The majority of employees surveyed (58%) explain that they find it difficult to do their work in the office because of the many distractions they face on-site.

Many also lamented the lack of privacy in the workspaces provided by their bosses. Furthermore, 27% of respondents feel that they are more effective in a quiet environment away from the office.

Offering flexible working could aid recruitment

Surprisingly, their managers take an opposite stance, with 83% of employers stating that the current configuration of their offices enables their employees to be productive.

In their view, it’s the commute to and from work that most discourages their workers from coming to the office in person more regularly. But they might have every interest in doing so, according to the Unispace survey.

Indeed, an overwhelming majority of employers (84%) claim that career prospects are limited for people who only work from home.

Against this backdrop, it is important for companies to emphasise the advantages and opportunities offered by the physical workplace, rather than forcing their employees to return to it. This is vital to their attractiveness in a job market that’s currently characterized by hiring difficulties.

In fact, 42% of companies surveyed that have mandated a return to the office have a higher-than-normal staff attrition rate, and 29% of them are finding it difficult to recruit. – AFP Relaxnews

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