Return to Office - Will You Leave a Job That Goes Back Full Time

The time is coming where things will start opening up and some organisations will be better at it than others. How important is flexibility to you and will it impact your choices?

Poll Options

  • 825
    Flexibility is now expected and will influence my career choices
  • 147
    It is what it is and I’ll cop what the boss says


  • +39

    Flexibility is very important to me but I wouldn’t leave my current job if we were expected back full time - I like it too much.

    If circumstances changed in this workplace, I would primarily consider new roles that had flexibility, but I’d still look at everything.

    • Can I ask what you do? Hearing from people who love theirs jobs is always interesting to me

      • +5

        I work in road safety.

        My job is all about mitigating dangerous road situations and making the transport network safer for all modes, to ultimately reduce the number of lives lost and injuries that occur on our roads.

        • +1

          I'm guessing that's an office role in strategy rather than holding of signs, I can see how that would be rewarding work if you feel like things are able to be improved. Can I ask why it's not feasible to do from home on a longer term basis?

          • -3

            @Jackson: I think the only people who can demand flexibility is the people who was employed during the lockdown / wfh period as that is what they signed up for.

            For everyone else that accepted a 5 days a week office role they shouldn't be upset even if they have to go back 5 time a week. The reason to wfh was for lockdown which is temporary. Now the lockdown is over and if it is safe to go back, people should go back as it would be the same working arrangement as what they chose to sign up for when they accepted the job.

            • +6

              @Chchnu: I disagree. Safe to go back doesn’t mean we should.

              A lot of my job prior was actually spent in transit between different stakeholders. I would say at least an hour a day, some days more. Now, transit is non existent and moving between meetings is instantaneous. I now have an extra hour a day, 5 hours a week, to get work done.

              Couple that with the fact that we’re able to reach more stakeholders more quickly, we are actually significantly more efficient and things are progressing much faster when wfh.

              When we did go back into the office from LD3 to LD4, we got less done when in the office. It was a social thing. A wasted day of productivity.

            • +3

              @Chchnu: Anyone can demand anything, especially if they are willing to walk and find another job. It's a market like any other. If that person's skills/experience are in short supply, and there's others providing flexible work arrangements, then it's the employer that will have pressure to provide flexible work options

            • +2

              @Chchnu: Disagree.
              When you agree to work, you are signing up that you're agreeing to do the job. When WFH is a feasible, where that job is performed is a byproduct of the agreement, and is part of the "give and take" between the employer and the employee.
              For example, moving from Melbourne to Sydney for a job because the business in located in Sydney is a benefit to the employer because you will be local and more available. But this is to the detriment to the employee and so the employer must compensate them to make up for it via a higher wage/living expenses/etc…

              For some going back to the office 5 days a weeks is substantially detrimental to the employee with some commuting up to 3 hours per day. Just because it was standard doesn't mean it wasn't detrimental.
              Given working from home has removed that detriment for a lot of people (and even a benefit to businesses in some cases), it would be fair to say that WFH is now a demand as it improves the quality of the job.

              Regardless, the great WFH experiment has proven that workplaces can exist and flourish in that environment, and now has naturally become a bargaining item that businesses will need compete in for talent.

              • +2

                @r3dfusi0n: But then pre-lockdown the emplpyee was ok to commute 3 hours a day for the pay that was given to you and the job that you did. The lockdown was always temporary all of a sudden employee no longer ok to commute 3 hours a day? The pay and work is the same.

                • @Chchnu: I've been working from home since start of March 2020 here in VIC, have not set foot in my office since then. I don't think they will be making us go back until after the New Year. By then it will be coming up to 2 years I have been working from home. You call that temporary?

                  In that time I have saved 2 hours commute every day, I get more sleep as I also don't have to wake up earlier and get ready for work. I have more time for home tasks. I don't have any kids so no distractions at home where as in the office I was constantly distracted from noise and the people I have to sit around. I suffer from bad hayfever especially in the office air con which I've hardly had since. I have not got sick from being on the train. I have saved money commuting. I get more work done now than I did in the office.

                  My job is business support, not client facing and there is literally 0 benefit from me being in the office apart from being able to talk to someone there directly instead of calling which does not outweigh any of the above.

                  Times are changing, when you reflect on what was, who says that was ok and acceptable? It's just that we are realising now that it doesn't have to be that way. We evolve and find better ways of doing things and the world has realised that we don't need to be chained to a desk in an office when I can do the same work from and desk and computer at home if your role allows it.

                • @Chchnu: I used to commute 3 hours per day. I also used to request work from home days prior to lockdowns due to the amount of time wasted on the road when I could be getting work done, or more personal time.

                  I don't think anyone is ever OK to commute 3 hours a day. But in my particular circumstance, the employer wanted people in office regardless of the proven increase in productivity when working from home, just due to the fact they did not trust people were at their desk for 7.36+ hours of the day.

                  When trust issues become apparent just because the boss cannot visually see you at your desk, that is a big issue. And that is why a lot of people (including myself) now decide to move to better positions elsewhere.

                • @Chchnu: Circumstances, priorities and most importantly, the power dynamic between an employer-employee, can definitely change over time.

                  Let me put it this way, if I feel I deserve a pay hike, I'll bring it up with my bosses. If feel really strongly about it, I'll walk and take up a gig at the place where I can be paid to my expectations.

                  Going back to WFH discussions, based on my knowledge/experience, most reasonable workplaces are making flexible work arrangements available to staff whereever possible. The larger function I work in (I work in a traditional ASX 20 org) will be moving to a hybrid model. Our team will be doing 1-2 days a week from the office, and upper management are more than happy to facilitate.

            • @Chchnu: ppl that demand flexibility is also the same ppl that the company demanded to wfh even though the company signed this ppl up with 5 days a week office role.

              so if the company can ask you to wfh which is not on the original contract that you sign up for then why can't you do the same?

              it's a free market, we are not in the 70s anymore.

              • @Dotherightthing: "so if the company can ask you to wfh which is not on the original contract that you sign up for then why can't you do the same?"

                Well companies were actually forced due to the rules put in place by government, I'm sure some businesses would still have people going in to the office if it weren't for those restrictions and fines put in to place.

          • +2

            @Jackson: There’s a lot we need to do on site too, it’s not 100% office. Inspections and observations are critical parts of our job.

            It is feasible to remain wfh for us though (with the ability to conduct site visits), and we are being given flexibility after lockdowns, but if we were expected back in the office full time I would do it rather than move to another employer.

            • @jjjaar: Do you take feedback from ordinary people?

    • -1

      I would quit and find another job in a heart beat.

  • +17

    Never worked in an office and never will. My freedom and autonomy are very important. Self employment is the way to go ideally.

    • +8

      What do you do?

    • +4

      The assertion that "employed by someone else === no freedom" is flawed. A secure, flexible, well-paying job can actually increase autonomy in that you have the money and spare time to do whatever you'd like. And a floundering entrepreneurial venture can have the opposite effect.

    • -1

      Self employment, best way to work 24/7 and have no breaks.

  • +25

    Yes it would influence which role I chose if I was looking for a job but I wouldn't leave the one I'm in just because they want us back in the office full time

  • +3

    you kidding? no way ….. i will continue lock myself forever until no more covid walking on the earth

  • +3

    I wouldn't leave my job but I would look to see if I can find a job that is flexible.

  • +50

    Having an income is more important than flexibility to me.

    • +2

      Mr Pharell (middlename Kurn) is right!

    • +1

      In other words being a wage slave is ideal over flexiblity

      • +1

        Slave to money.

    • +3

      Why not both? You're a human being not a productivity unit.

    • Why not both?

      Can imagine you lot a century ago

      "Oh, I dunno, lad, 80 hours down mine seems like best any o' us can e'er hope fer, now best get back to diggin', aye"

  • +7

    How important is flexibility

    Important, however the flexibility in the job itself, is more important than whether in office or WFH.

    Would leave because if the job is crap, not if there isn’t a WFH option.

  • +29

    I have no problem being back 100% of the time if the job required it, but my current job doesn't so I'd be asking what is going on and why they need me there. If it's solely because that's the way they roll, I'd probably look for a new job where there's a bit more trust.

    • +15

      Agree. There’s definitely going to be the managers who like you at your desk for 8hrs rather than managing outcomes/deliverables

      • +21

        Middle Managers: Sad noises.

        • +3

          Tbh, middle managers just play by company culture.

        • +24

          Lots of middle managers are also delighted they don't have to be in the office either.

        • I represent that comment!

      • +1

        It's a good sign that they're bad managers. If they're that bad at their job, I don't want to work for them.

      • +1

        Since when do manager have any power?

        • Since they can make you add the missing 's' and resubmit that brief.

  • +3

    We all have a choice. I think when you start thinking the Friday is a Wednesday because you have no idea of what day it is from working from home so long. Maybe it's time to get back into the office and separate work from your own time. IMO. Reminds me of South Park

    Some ppl are so use to WFH as they may not have even been in an office it makes sense to want to keep that.

    Depending on your work environment for now WFH will still be a continued thing. I like the social aspect of the office as I actually speak to ny colleagues. It's 9 to 5, and not just grinding the work tasks. So best option is to only go in office when you need to or for say 3 days. Bosses however want to see bums on seats 5 days a week, do they can justify having the office

  • +19

    I was doing some recruiting for a role, and when applicants found out that they were expected in the office 2-3 days per week, they quickly said “sorry, not interested”

    • -6

      Their loss.

      • +5

        Yeah, they clearly have options

        How will they ever cope

        What a loss /s

      • +1

        Not always.

        I've seen this as well. For some very high-demand fields, the employer would get the two-finger salute if they pushed for non-flexible work arrangements.

    • +11

      Triple the salary and you might find some interest .

    • +20

      working in 2-3 days per week is reasonable, I think.

      • -9

        And if they showed interest in the role, I would have continued to say that the role is starting in the office with a move to a flexible role!

        Someone told me that is the way to weed out people wanting the role

        • And if they showed interest in the role, I would have continued to say that the role is starting in the office with a move to a flexible role!

          Gold!!!!! Love ya work!

        • +47

          So you were playing games. Why is being upfront so hard. Probably explains a bit

          • -9

            @Vote for Pedro: No games but I don’t want to set the expectations that they will get to WFH full time. I have no issues with them WFH, but initially, it would be a hell of a lot easier for them to be in an office rather than trying to learn stuff via Teams

            • +36

              @supasaiyan: Then set that expectation straight away.

              ‘The role will be xyz initially with abc opportunity beyond onboarding’

              Seems you need some assistance in clear communication.

              • +26

                @Vote for Pedro: Recruiters are basically used car sales people with less rules.

                • +4

                  @This Guy: Sounds like it’s the potential employees that dodged a bullet with this one

  • +30

    One thing we have noticed is team interaction and communication has dropped and in some cases turned to shit.. Emails don't get the same respect as face to face sometimes

    There is a lot more of 'every man for himself' going on - this is at our work compared to when it was face to face thing seemed to be smoother.. maybe its just the stress of the world around them as well.

    this is across 4 sites in 4 different states.

    • +17

      This is really industry dependant.

      My team's productivity actually went up. (IT -design and dev for a SaaS)

      We hardly use email too, mostly notifications for Teams and scrum tools lol.

      • i dont work in front of a computer but most of the communication with admin people is through email, quite frankly there are so many that anything relevant but unexpected just gets drowned and as reading emails is not high on our priority list most of it is ignored until a brief meeting is held

    • +2

      Agree, it's the same at my work and we're a pretty big company (65,000+ staff) so the overall impact on the company is quite high.

    • It’s also a management thing. If the management don’t encourage virtual gatherings, all hands, one on one more and encourage use of voice/video more between team members. This means leave people to use email instead of voice chats, leave it to normal people, they would just use email. Then you get to where you are at.

      My company encourages face to face video chats, workplace (Facebook) posting and even draws to have one on one chats with colleagues you might not need to talk to in the past year to get into a video call.

      It helps to build good culture and ways of working. We didn’t see any drop in communication and stress level between members.

      • -1

        If the management don’t encourage virtual gatherings

        thats the thing, We've found there is a great difference in face to face in person to face to camera

    • Yes I have experienced the same nimbyism across our national network. Respect and teamwork has detoriated. The individual output is higher but some of our team can't set the forrest from the trees and a little too stubborn to ask and help each other too.

  • +1

    Of course it will be one consideration and an important one at that. It won't be the sole variable

  • +9

    I prefer the kind of flexibility that comes from having a good income, rather than the kind that comes from being unemployed.

    • +20

      Don't let them trick you into believing this is an either/or situation because it isn't.

    • +4

      Those aren't the only options. I recently did a job hunt after moving from overseas. Turned down a couple of decent paying full-time office positions I would have jumped at a few years ago, before I had shifted my work to prioritize flexibility

      The flexibility of remaining unemployed for another month or two landed me a fully remote job with a 50% pay increase over the others.
      It's not without it's drawbacks, but the malaise of office life isn't one of them

  • +12

    I enjoy working in a mostly empty office. Once they bring more people back in it will suck but I'm sure I can find somewhere to hide from them all.

    • Yep, if you have to make me go to the office, I'm deliberately picking a day where no one is around.

      After 4 or so months in lockdown, I recognise that the office is still a good place to get stuff done but only when it's quiet.

    • Haha true

  • +9

    Lot’s of posts here with the sentiment that the power relationship in a job is all on the side of the employer.
    If you think you might be unemployed if you were to push for flexibility you want, that is pointing to a bigger problem. If you think the boss can get by just fine without you, how are you ever going to get a pay rise or promotion?

    And if you are in a call centre, or back office role where a replacement for you isn’t hard to find, maybe this is the kick up the backside you need to change industries or roles to something where you will be more valued.

    • +8

      Many companies don't value people at all which SHOULD be hard to believe these days…
      To many businesses every staff member is nothing more than a number. There's plenty of people looking for work (like in this thread - if your not happy move on… ) and plenty to choose from - your value goes down.

    • +3

      Or more pertinently, its a reflection on the Australian economy & how undereducated we are, since we are easily replaceable.
      Wool, coal, farming. So innovative…

      • Australia have some of the most innovative farming techniques in the world

        • They finish ploughing with a counter clockwise swirl?

  • +4

    I was turning up to work one day a week and thanks to our current lockdown, I'll likely be doing the same thing once things normalise.

    Flexibility is highly important to me but only because my job is nothing but documents, Team meetings/convos and emails. Also my manager and majority of my team are in different states so coming in to my local office doesn't really matter in my circumstances.

  • +5

    I wouldn't mind going in once or twice a week to keep communication and work relationships strong but I think I'm most effective at getting things done at home. I doubt they'll force it on us because we're a small company and others I've talked to feel the same (Won't quit regardless because I like my job. Relatively high autonomy and nobody's a jerk)

Login or Join to leave a comment