8 in 10 employees would quit if they were forced back into the office

Fear not, HR, there's an ace up your sleeve in the remote working battle

8 in 10 employees would quit if they were forced back into the office

Keen for your people to come back to the office? Tread carefully, employers – a new report found that 80% of Canadian employees would quit if management forced them back. Research from Hardbacon uncovered a worrying prediction haunting Canadian organizations – either conform to remote or hybrid models or brace for a mass exodus.

And why this sudden emphatic refusal? It all comes down to expenses. According to the data, employees spend an average of $26 in out-of-pocket expenses for everyday they head into the office. As inflation continues to rise and the cost-of-living crisis worsens, Canadians are anxious about their financial wellbeing. Annually, that figure rises to $6,760 per employee.

So, what can in-office employers do to lure their people back? Well, it seems like a 27% pay rise might just do the trick. The data found that if employers were to bump their workers’ wages by over one quarter, they’d be more than happy to return.

“The future of work has been reimagined and a number of employees have proven they can do their job efficiently at a distance,” says Hardbacon editor-in-chief Stefani Balinsky. “With this reality, it just makes sense economically for Canadians to be making the most of their money by working from home.”

Firing an employee for refusing to come back

But not all employees are keen to stay remote – nor are their long-suffering leader. For instance, high-flying executives such as JPMorgan Chase & Co's chief Jamie Dimon believes remote working just doesn’t work for younger employees or those who crave the “hustle”.

But what if an employee outrightly refuses to come back? According to Matthew L.O. Certosimo, partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, it all depends on your HR policies – and how far you’ve publicized them.

“As we move towards the second anniversary of this pandemic, there’ll be a strong argument on the part of the employer, who implemented the work from home arrangements, that the employee knew that requirement arose in the context of a public health emergency. As such, employers will say that work from home was temporary, linked to the pandemic, not a permanent feature of the employment relationship.

“Essentially, at some point, employers may find themselves having tacitly agreed to an effective amendment. The key piece of advice for employers is to communicate the temporary nature of the work from home arrangement – explaining that it's necessary because of government and/or public health orders and health and safety practices – and to outline their return-to-work plan.

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