21% of workers vow to quit if 'ordered back to the office'

Are in-office workers more productive than remote workers?

21% of workers vow to quit if 'ordered back to the office'

Months after the federal government announced a mandatory return to the workplace policy for those in core public service, many workers are still not keen on coming back, according to a recent report.

Currently, 36% of workers who currently work from home at least some of the time say they would return to the office full-time with no qualms if their employer requests so, reports non-profit Angus Reid Institute.

However, many are far more are likely to either return but consider switching jobs (31%) or hand in their resignation notice (21%) shortly after being ordered to come back to the office.

Federal workers in core public service were required to return to the office in January, with some exemptions. Meanwhile, private employers like Amazon, RBC and Meta have also called on their employees to report to the office more often.

“The hybrid work arrangement figures to play into ongoing negotiations between workers and the federal government,” said the Angus Reid Institute.

“All the while businesses are trying to draw workers back into their common spaces, would-be workers or current employees continue to benefit from a tight job market, which in many cases has workers holding the better cards. There are many Canadians who are willing to play their hand if it means moving elsewhere and maintaining their newfound flexibility.”

People who are forced to work in the office full-time are twice as likely to quit their jobs compared to those given a choice about where they can work, according to a previous report.

Decision, productivity, connection

Different aspects of work also make the remote-work-or-in-office decision harder for employers, found Angus Reid’s survey of over 1,600 Canadians conducted Feb. 9-12, 2023.

Among workers who previously worked at home and are now back in the office, over half (52%) say it was their employer’s mandate that they return while just over a third (36%) decided to do so on their own.

But when it comes to all employed workers – whether working remotely or in-office some or most of the time – half (49%) say they would prefer to be in the office more than at home while the other half (51%) would like to be working from home more than working on site.

When it comes to production at work, those remotely located are a little more likely (81%) to say that they are productive than those in the office (77%). And those with freedom in work location options (81%) are far more likely to say they have good work-life balance compared to those required to be on-location (54%).

However, far more in-office workers (84%) say they have good or great connections with their colleagues compared to those working remotely (50%). However,

Effective April 1, British Columbia is allowing public service employees to work from home when possible.

Go hybrid?

“A hybrid model is the obvious long-term solution,” said Peter Saluk – president of SALUK & CO, a full-service agency specializing in advertising and brand identity – as this is “one that would give leadership and employees the opportunity to coordinate which days are going to be in-office day[s].” 

Forcing workers to be permanently in the office just isn’t a good idea, he said.

“Any company that is going to try and enforce a mandatory five-day[s] a week in-office work schedule is going to be at a competitive disadvantage and lose out on top candidates who understand their value, and are responsible & capable enough to successfully navigate a hybrid work schedule. They might get the workers trying to get experience, but will quickly experience attrition rates that will make that strategy untenable.”

One expert, however, previously said that hybrid isn’t the way to go for employers.

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