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Home office rules: workers decide to stay put


Corporate Australia was facing a bigger problem in bringing workers back to the office this year, according to a poll by recruitment company people2people.

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The poll found about 40 per cent of workers were ready to move on to either another job or another company and managers should initiate salary reviews this month in an effort to keep workers.

The Property Council has expressed concerns that work-from-home habits may have become entrenched in the past 18 months.

According to its survey office occupancy in November was 63 per cent of pre-Covid levels, up from 57 per cent in October, but still below the 70 per cent level that it had maintained until September.

In Sydney, occupancy is 23 per cent while Melbourne is at 12 per cent.

While the survey showed a recovery in Brisbane, the levels of occupancy were still at or near levels recorded at the start of the year. This time last year the occupancy was 61 per cent.

Adding to concerns, the Queensland Government has urged people to remain at home to avoid further Covid transmission, but the poll showed that about half the workforce were planning to do that anyway.

It found that more than half of the Australian workforce would continue to work from home and four out of 10 were looking to change jobs or make a career change. 

Workplace flexibility was likely to be a major focus for workers this year and would be among the key drivers in people looking for a new job.

The poll found improved salary would remain the number one reason for workers opting for a job change (42 per cent).

That was followed by company culture (23 per cent), workplace flexibility (19.7 per cent) and job security (15.1 per cent). 

people2people managing director Mark Smith said the labour market had been rapidly changing since March 2020 and work flexibility was until now the second biggest factor, after company culture. 

“However, with an increasingly tightening labour market with heavily pronounced candidate shortages, salaries are now back to first place ranking and are expected to remain up there in 2022,” he said.

“With four in 10 employees looking to change jobs or career in 2022, and more being directly approached by other organisations due to candidate shortages, it is essential to make your staff feel valued and ensure they are aware of potential opportunities available to them within their organisation.” 

He said it was important for employers to reinstate face-to-face check-ins with team members to assess where they are at and relay any concerns they may have. 

They also had to explore ways to convey the company culture at work and home offices, and share a 2022 plan highlighting any new initiatives and projects for the year ahead. 

“If it hasn’t been done yet, make sure you book your performance and salary reviews this year or early January.”


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