64% of employees will resign if forced to return to in-person work full time
According to a recent study called “Adapt to work everywhere” by Topia, a global talent mobility company, has found that office workers overwhelmingly demand flexible work arrangements and will change jobs to get them. In the last year, remote work has evolved from a semi-temporary COVID-19 safety measure to a new normal and an expectation. While most HR professionals recognise the benefits of remote work, the data suggests that tax and immigration compliance remain a greater risk than they realise.
The Adapt study, the third annual one, aims to explore attitudes to remote work, what drives an exceptional candidate experience and how valuable mobility is. Conducted by CITE Research on behalf of Topia, the study surveyed 1,481 full-time office workers between 22 December 2021 and 11 January 2022. All participants were employed by international firms, were evenly split between the US and the UK and included 299 HR professionals.
Its focus was on “flexible work arrangements,” with the term encompassing any work performed outside the traditional office environment. This included remote work from home, across state and country borders, and on business or leisure trips.
The key findings of 2022 Adapt study include the following:
- Failure to allow flexible work arrangements is driving the Great Resignation
Twenty-nine percent of respondents changed jobs in 2021, and 34% are planning to resign in 2022. Lack of flexibility is a major factor, and many employees are disappointed with their organization’s remote work policies.
- 41% of employees say flexibility to work from home is or was a reason to change jobs. 35% also cited more flexibility to work remotely as a reason to find a new employer.
- 64% of those forced to return to the office full-time say this makes them more likely to look for a new job.
- Although 82% of employers have a remote work policy, 48% of employees feel that mobility policies are in place just to make remote work applications easier to reject.
- When choosing an employer, flexibility is a top priority
There is little interest in returning to the office full-time in both the UK and the US. Public health, originally the impetus for remote work, is no longer relevant. The freedom, technology, and autonomy to work from anywhere is central to the ideal employee experience.
- Asked what they look for in a new employer, respondents rank flexible work arrangements as the third most important attribute—after high pay and a focus on employee wellbeing.
- 96% of employees feel that flexibility in working arrangements is important when seeking a new job.
- 56% of respondents say the flexibility to work in whatever location they want defines an “exceptional employee experience.”
- For most organizations, flexible work remains an unsolved compliance challenge
In 2021, 60% of HR professionals were confident they knew where most of their employees were located. That number fell to 46% in 2022. HR still has a blind spot in determining where employees are working and for how long. The resulting tax and immigration compliance risks are significant.
- 40% of HR professionals discovered employees working from outside their home state or country.
- 66% of employees admit to not reporting all the days they work outside their home state or country.
- Nevertheless, 90% of HR professionals are confident that employees will self-report such days.
Steve Black, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Topia commented: “It’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and our Adapt study suggests that if companies say no to flexible work arrangements, they will lose talented people and struggle to replace them. To provide an exceptional employee experience, organisations need technology that welcomes employees to explore, request and pursue remote work opportunities. The back-end compliance needs to be automated and accommodating of employees who change locations frequently.”