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Bosses warned: be wary of forcing workers back to the office


Two-thirds would look for another job, according to a survey by global payroll specialist ADP.

By Keeli Cambourne 10 minute read

Employers who force their workers back to the office may get pushback according to the latest report from payroll company ADP, with two-thirds saying they would look for another job

People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View found that seven in 10 workers (71 per cent) had contemplated a career move this year and there was a questioning about what job security meant in the wake of COVID.

“Today, workers are thinking about more than just a steady pay check,” said report author Nela Richardson.

“The pandemic has put personal wellbeing and life outside work into an even clearer perspective than ever before, and intensified the desire for more amenable working conditions, including greater flexibility, remote work options or better organisational culture.”

The report revealed that workers were increasingly interested in a company’s ethics and values with three-quarters saying they would consider looking for a new job if they discovered their company had an unfair gender pay gap or no diversity and inclusion policy.

Optimism about the outlook for the workplace, while still slightly below pre-pandemic levels, was also robust. Hopes were high for pay rises, with more than 60 per cent anticipating one in the next year and 76 per cent prepared to ask for one if they felt they deserved it.

Salary was seen as the most important factor in a job, and two-thirds of workers (65 per cent) would like more hours for more pay. Yet workers were still effectively giving away the equivalent of more than a working day (8.5 hours) of unpaid overtime each week - less than in 2021 but still more than pre-pandemic.

Seven out of 10 wanted more flexibility about work hours, such as condensing into a four-day week, and that suggested continuing to do so much extra time could be unsustainable, the report said.

Although money was a priority, around half would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work-life balance or guaranteed flexibility over work hours – even if the total amount of work was unchanged.

The report said many workers were contemplating relocating and a substantial minority had already done so. Concerns that employers might overlook remote workers in favour of their colleagues were unfounded. In fact, the reverse was true: remote staff felt more recognised and rewarded for their efforts and supported in their careers. Almost seven in 10 said they were paid fairly for their skills and role, compared with less than half of their peers in the workplace.

Employers who were over-compensating by focusing on remote workers at the expense of others might need to redress the balance as a matter of urgency, said Ms Richardson.

For the one in 10 who were dissatisfied with their current employment, almost half (49 per cent) said it was due to being given increased responsibility for no extra pay.

Lack of progression was cited as the second biggest cause of dissatisfaction (by 46 per cent) while for 41 per cent it was about receiving fewer benefits than expected.

But the biggest factor was being forced to return to the workplace full-time, which would prompt two-thirds of the global workforce to look for another job.




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