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The end of working from home: The good, the bad and the ugly

😃 The Good: Socialising and work-life boundaries

😔 The Bad: Many of us will quit

😡 The Ugly: Women will be worse off

The days of flexible work could be coming to an end, with many businesses looking to wind back their “pandemic progress”.

According to a new report from LinkedIn, 77 per cent of company leaders think flexible work is under threat due to “economic uncertainty”.

Almost three-quarters of Aussie employers said they would prefer their employees to work in the office more frequently, instead of working from home (WFH). So, should your boss force you back into the office?

Socialising and work-life boundaries

So, are there any benefits to returning to the office? Well, some often-cited bonuses include socialising, face-to-face collaboration and creating a solid distinction between work and home.

Working from home can create a “blurring of the boundaries” between work time and personal time, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Leaving home and heading into the workplace means Aussies can clearly draw the line and physically leave work at the end of the day.

There’s also more opportunity to chat and collaborate informally, face-to-face. (Unlike WFH, where interactions usually need to be scheduled with a calendar invite).


Many of us will quit

But there’s bad news for employees and employers.

More than a third of Aussies have said they would quit their job or look for another one if they were forced back into the office full-time. Workers would even be willing to take a 5 per cent pay cut if it meant they could WFH two or three days a week.

“Flexibility is one of the key ways to attract and retain talent. It is one of the most important factors for job seekers,” LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand managing director Matt Tindale said.

Many Aussies say flexible work improves their well-being. It means they can avoid the long commute (before the pandemic, Aussies spent an average of 67 minutes a day travelling to and from work) and have extra flexibility (say, to pick up the kids from school, take the dog for a walk or hang out the laundry).

Working from home on laptop.
More than a third of Aussies would quit or look for another job if they were forced back into the office full-time. (Source: Getty)


Women will be worse off

Flexible work has benefits for all workers, but the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) notes that “family and caring-friendly working policies” are likely to boost the number of females in the workplace.

“Women are 24 per cent more likely to apply for remote or flexible opportunities than males,” LinkedIn’s Tindale said.

Flexible working can also increase the number of women in leadership positions.

“Companies that wind back the ability of women and men to work flexibly will do so at their peril,” WGEA director Mary Wooldridge said.

“In a tight employment market of job seekers who highly value flexible work, potential employees will vote with their feet.”


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