Traditional work models might no longer work in a post-pandemic world. But with life in Aotearoa somehow returning to normal, companies are now pushing for workers to return to the office for various reasons.
Some firms believe that the return-to-office model is crucial in promoting hybrid work, and that hybrid work itself would not be successful if employees discouraged people from returning.
However, the working preferences of employees across New Zealand have also significantly changed. In fact, employees are seeking jobs that are better suited to their lifestyle and pushing back on any attempt to rope them into a physical worksite.
A study published in The Conversation gives insight into what workers want and why. The survey included questions on where, when, and how many hours employees work, and the autonomy they have in setting their work routines.
52% of respondents said they had more flexibility compared to pre-COVID times
62% said they were able to manage work-life demands better
67% said they wanted more work-life flexibility
Read more: What makes a culture inclusive and flexible?
Are you open to flexible work?
There are still companies pushing for the traditional 40-hour work week, but others have heeded the demands of workers and are offering flexibility in working hours, location, and work style.
Flexibility in this context meant [employees having] control over their working patterns, wrote Wayne Macpherson, Beth Tootell, Jennifer Scott and Kazunori Kobayashi of Massey University, who spearheaded the study.
“Employees wanted to decide how, where and when they carried out their work. This does not necessarily mean only working from home, but start and end times, number of daily hours worked, and preferred locations such as the homes of friends and family, cafes, libraries and shared open spaces,” they said.
“By embracing the preferences of their workers, employers can show they value employees and employee well-being, which might help navigate the best options for employees – including helping set the new ‘rules’ of working and where compromises might take place.”