SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 27 October 2021, Wednesday |

About 70% of employees are ‘out of practice’ for office life, survey finds

About 70 per cent of employees in the UAE and Saudi Arabia feel “out of practice” when it comes to office life as organizations are increasingly returning to normal after an easing of Covid-19-induced work-from-home arrangements, a survey by professional network LinkedIn has found.

More than 50 per cent of employees have returned to working full time, findings of the survey conducted among 1,000 employees showed. And about 55 per cent of employees who want to return to the office, feel they are more productive in an office setting.

However, more than 40 per cent are looking for a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home part-time, the research revealed.

Twenty per cent of those polled said they are looking for new jobs that offer remote working and about 15 per cent said they quit as a result of being asked to return to the office full time.

The widening disconnect between employers and employees about a possible return to the office after Covid-19 and the emergence of a new hybrid working model could lead to a wave of resignations and increase worker disengagement, a report by global consultancy McKinsey has said.

Globally, employees are currently leaving their jobs at much higher rates than normal. About 42 per cent of remote workers said if their company does not continue to offer options to work from home in the long term, they will look for a job that does, according to a March 2021 survey by financial services company Prudential.

The Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged some organisations, including crowdfunding company Kickstarter and consumer goods multinational Unilever, to try the four-day work week to allow employees to juggle work and home life, while having more time for personal pursuits. More employees are demanding an improved work-life balance as they return to the office full time.

About 80 per cent of employees polled said there is a stigma associated with working from home, while 65 per cent said they worry that not being seen in the office will negatively affect their career progression, as they have less facetime with the boss and it’s harder to learn from colleagues, the survey found.

Employees working from home for the past year felt safe, happier and were able to spend more time with their family, according to LinkedIn. However, many also felt isolated, overwhelmed and burnt out.

“These results indicate the need for a multi-faceted policy that takes into account the diverse needs of employees,” Mr Matar said.

“For example, new joiners at a company might need to do on-boarding at the office as part of their training and to capture the whole experience, while employees who have been at the company for longer can benefit from more flexibility,” he added.