Majority of remote workers feel they will be fired for refusing to return to office

78% of remote employees globally are willing to take a pay cut to continue working from home, new survey finds

Nearly half of all remote workers surveyed chose more money as a big incentive that could sway them back into the office. PA
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Nearly 80 per cent of remote workers around the world fear their employers would fire them if they refused a request to return to the office, a new survey found.

About 78 per cent of employees said they were willing to take a pay cut to continue working from home, with Gen Z respondents the most willing to do so, according to a survey of 800 work-from-home employees and 200 business leaders by productivity software company OSlash.

Nearly half of all remote workers surveyed chose more money as a key incentive that could sway them back into the office, with employees seeking a bonus of at least $500 to return to office work, the survey found.

Other incentives cited by employees to return to work include flexible scheduling, free food, extra holiday time, four-day working week, hybrid work schedule, payment in cryptocurrencies, allowing pets and a petrol stipend, according to the findings.

Men were 22 per cent more likely than women to be enticed back to the office by payments in cryptocurrency.

“Over two years after Covid-19 pandemic, many offices are now reopening and bringing employees back on site. But when it comes to the office, if you build it, they may not come,” the survey said.

“So many years of remote work have led to a Great Disconnect between employers and employees: bosses want employees back on site, but workers want to keep working from home.”

Given the global Great Resignation trend, attracting and retaining talent has become a focus for employers as staff demand flexible working and better benefits after the Coronavirus pandemic disrupted traditional work patterns.

The phrase Great Resignation was coined in 2021 by Anthony Klotz, a psychologist and professor of business administration at Texas A&M University in the US. It refers to the millions of workers who resigned from their jobs to seek a more flexible work-life balance, after working remotely during the pandemic.

About 30 per cent of employees in the Middle East are “extremely” or “highly likely” to look for a new job in the next year, according to a June survey by global consultancy PwC.

Four day work week? - Business Extra

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Nearly 60 per cent of employers around the world said they would be content with employees resigning rather than returning to the office, according to the OSlash survey. Twelve per cent of employers admitted using a return-to-the-office mandate to fire employees without having to lay them off.

Sixty per cent of employers would offer employees a hybrid work schedule if they declined to return to the office, 20 per cent would let them to continue to work remotely, and 19 per cent would fire them, the survey revealed.

Employees would have had to work for their employer for at least eight years for employers to change their minds about firing them.

“Remote employees had the highest morale, but on-site employees demonstrated the most productivity. Still, more than one-third of employers viewed remote workers as more expendable than on-site workers,” OSlash said.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent of employers will avoid overworking employees to create an in-office experience conducive to productivity, 54 per cent will offer financial incentives and 50 per cent will encourage mental health days, according to the research.

Work-from-home distractions abound for remote workers, with 38 per cent spending time exercising, 38 per cent streaming music, 35 per cent cleaning, 34 per cent streaming movies, 31 per cent playing video games and 29 per cent running errands.

Gen Xers were more likely to spend their workday running errands than other generations, while 79 per cent of Gen Zers were more likely to juggle multiple jobs while working.

About 72 per cent of respondents had more than one job, spending an average of 16 extra hours at that job weekly, the research found.

Forty-two per cent of millennial remote workers surveyed admitted being distracted by their children, while 41 per cent of Gen Zers were distracted by their pets.

Remote workers said they would miss exercising the most upon returning to the office, followed by streaming music, family time, increased flexibility and the lack of commute, according to the survey.

Updated: September 17, 2022, 12:33 PM