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Ignite research: Talent work environment preferences

08 October 2021

As Australia’s eastern states gradually open up from COVID-lockdowns once again, employers have the opportunity to revisit an important question. Where will our staff work from long-term?

For 18 months, workers around Australia have been exposed to new ways of work reshaping their expectations and preferences of where they work from long-term. Now, in a candidate-driven jobs market, employers are faced with a key decision that could make or break their talent management strategy and underpin their employee value proposition (EVP).

So, to help you out, we’ve surveyed 200 candidates to better understand their work environment preferences to help inform your long-term workforce plan moving forward.

Here’s what we found.

67% want a hybrid work model

According to our research, a resounding two thirds of candidates want a hybrid working model moving forward. They want the best of both worlds; the flexibility of working from home and the socialisation of working from the office. Talent in this space tend to disagree over the structure of hybridisation, but ultimately want a working week composed of flexible work policies that accommodate their respective lifestyles and individual needs.

The key lesson here is that if you don’t offer this hybridised flexibility, your EVP will not appeal to the majority of talent. So, a hybrid model is something you must consider to appeal to current and future employees.

20% want to work from home exclusively

Further to this, one fifth of workers are ready to abandon the office altogether and work exclusively from home long term. For 18 months, some workers have loved working from home. Why? Convenience, flexibility and work-life balance. No commutes, no dress codes and extra comfortability means 1 in 5 workers we surveyed don’t want to ever return to the office.

Consequently, if you do decide to mandate an office return, be prepared for a sizeable chunk of your workers to jump ship for a company offering the flexibility they increasingly seek.

13% want to work from the office exclusively

However, for some people, exposure to remote work has only reinforced their love of the traditional office environment. These individuals feel less focused and productive at home due to a higher prevalence of distractions. They find it hard to separate their professional life from their personal life within the same space. They also crave more opportunities for socialisation with their colleagues to build stronger and more effective teams.

In these cases, abandoning the offices completely will likely detract these workers from staying at your company long-term as well.

So, what does all this mean? Employers now need to cater to a broader range of work environment preferences than ever before. Some love the office, some love the home and others love both. The common theme across all 200 candidates is that talent values the flexibility to choose what suits them best. Therefore, employers need to find a balance between what is best for their people, but also what is the best for their business. Finding this balance will help you make a superior final decision about where your staff work from long-term, enhancing your EVP and talent management strategy.

Talk to our team to find our more!