NAB Behavioural Insights – Q1 2022

The changing workplace – attitudes to jobs, working from home & barriers to returning to the office.

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Over 1 in 4 workers are very enthusiastic about getting back to the workplace. The biggest barrier is commute time as employees embrace flexible working. 2 in 3 want less than 30 mins travel & 1 in 4 workers are considering leaving their current job.

  • COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the workplace, blending work and life with lasting impacts on workplace culture, employee attitudes and expectations. On average, 38% of the Australian work week is still at home, but workers want 49% (up from 44% a year ago). The NT is already at preferred working from home levels and NSW is close. Finance & insurance, utilities, business services and telcos are also currently operating at their workers ideal mix of time at home and in the workplace. While working from home has been a positive experience for many, remote working can also result in some employees feeling less connected to colleagues and struggling to manage work-life balance. Over 1 in 4 workers are very much looking forward to getting back to the workplace, particularly those under 50. Sometimes workers simply need to be in the same place to get the job done and ensure an aligned purpose and culture. But 4 in 10 workers say the biggest barrier for wanting to go back to the workplace is commute time, with 2 in 3 wanting to travel less than 30 mins. While longer commutes can impact wellbeing, some travel can be beneficial as a means of psychologically creating distance between work, home and personal time.
  • Employees have also become much more willing to change jobs, particularly in the current economic environment. 1 in 4 Australians are considering leaving their current place of employment, with resignation risks highest in telcos, agribusiness and construction. Some call this “the Great Resignation” as the pandemic encourages a rethink of careers and long-term goals. 1 in 4 workers also indicated that a reduction in work travel times would make it extremely likely they would consider changing jobs. Covid is also still weighing heavily on the psyche of Australian workers, with 1 in 3 highlighting the fear of catching Covid or transmitting it to others as a key concern returning to the office. Other notable concerns include traffic congestion, loss of flexibility for exercise and other activities, having to change routines, spending less time with family & friends and the cost of public transport.
  • Flexible working has become considerably more important in attracting and retaining talent as many employees have grown accustomed to less traditional work hours. Some businesses may require a more compelling employee proposition to prevent costly and time-consuming people movement. With the labour market expected to remain tight, the relationship between the employee and employer is now much less one-sided. The survey results are based on the responses from around 1,200 working Australians aged 18 and over between the period 22 February to 3 March 2022.

Find all the insights in NAB Behavioural Insights – The Changing Workplace (Q1 2022)