Our return-to-office survey finds a disconnect between employees and companies on remote work policies
- A recent Insider survey asked how people around the world feel about
remote workat their companies.
- The majority of respondents want their companies' policies to consider their individual needs.
While companies push to return to their offices, employees would rather stay at home, according to a new global survey from Insider.
This gap between companies and employees shows up when it comes to who makes decisions about working models, who is consulted during the decision-making process, and how the new rules of the workplace are enforced.
Insider readers from the United States, Mexico, France, Spain, Poland, and South Africa participated in an online survey that asked for their feelings about returning to the office.
Many employees in all countries — especially the USA and South Africa — prefer not to work at the office for even a single day a week, the survey found.
An important element for many more employees who took the survey was having the ability to decide on the number of days at their office based on their own preferences and work needs.
No matter the country, respondents said that most companies (over 60% on average) prefer to use a hybrid work model — partly at home, partly at the office — with 3-5 days a week spent at the office.
Fewer than half of survey respondents in most countries said their employers asked them about their preferences for their post-pandemic routine.
58% of survey respondents in the US are considering looking for another job. The Great Resignation phenomenon is mostly limited to the US, but still about a third of the employees in Poland, France, and South Africa indicated that they are considering changing their jobs.
Meanwhile, two of America's largest employers, Google and Apple, have summoned their US employees back to their offices in January and February 2022, respectively. As these dates approach, corporate workers from the two big tech companies are leaking letters of discontent to the media, demanding that their firms be more flexible and inclusive in their approach.
Companies understand the world has changed
Insider's survey shows that companies are indeed pushing to return to in-person working with about half of respondents in France and Spain already back at the office.
Over 50% of US respondents will return in January 2022, while over 40% of the respondents in South Africa will return in the first quarter of next year — assuming no further changes on the trajectory of the pandemic.
Who should decide on the model? In the US, South Africa, and Poland, companies are more likely to leave this responsibility with top management, the survey found, while employees and middle managers have more influence over the model in France, Spain, and Mexico.
There is no golden rule for the number of days in the office, and the survey showed geographic variations in this area, too.
While US and French companies often impose a set number of office days for all staff, those in Spain, Mexico, South Africa, and Poland often leave it to the team leader or the employee to decide based on their work needs.
Employees prefer to stay at home and demand flexibility in choosing their work model
While companies prefer the office, employees' dream workplace is their home. 82% of our respondents said so, on average, with the share of satisfied American, South African, and French workers reaching as high as 87%, 88%, and 89%, respectively. Only Spanish workers were significantly less enthusiastic.
Employers can enforce their hybrid work solutions, but may face a new risk: one of massive resignation. Companies have the tools to close the gap between employee and company with more internal consultation or leaving decisions with teams.
Employers understand very well that the role of the office as the center of corporate life will diminish over time. Some of them have already made appropriate decisions about their real estate needs. As the survey respondents attest, one in four companies has already reduced its rented office space as a result of its new work model.
About the survey
The Business Insider Global Trends return-to-office survey was completed online by close to 1,400 users from Insider and Business Insider sites in the United States, Mexico, Spain, France, Poland, and South Africa.
The respondents represented a wide range of company sizes, with small companies (up to 50 employees) accounting for 19%, medium-sized ones (from 50 to 1000) for 44%, and large ones (from 1000 to 10000 or more) for 38%.
The survey data was collected in November 2021. The global results were premiered at the Business Insider Global Trends return-to-office webinar on December 6, 2021.
You can access a free report based on the survey results by visiting this link.
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