Four out of five workers in corporate Australia will never go back to full-time in a traditional office, new research has found, as work permanently becomes unshackled from physical spaces across the country.
More than half of employees (57%) would even forego a pay increase or promotion to secure flexibility of work locations in the future, and half (53%) would even take a wage sacrifice to have more flexible work hours.
These are the findings of the Liberated Work report, published by global independent workplace researchers, WORKTECH Academy and Australia’s largest privately-owned flexible workspace provider, Hub Australia.
The report is based on a national survey of 500 Australian knowledge workers that are employed in an organisation with over 100 staff. The survey was conducted in February 2022 with fieldwork by Pollfish and qualitative interviews with industry experts conducted by Worktech.
The survey found out that:
- Only 21% see themselves returning full-time to the traditional office environment.
- More than half 58% said they expected to be working across multiple locations in 10 years’ time, including the traditional office, coworking spaces, home and other locations of choice.
- One in five (19%) believe the traditional office will be obsolete within the next decade.
The report also shares insights from some of the world’s top workplace and real estate experts, such as Tica Masuku, Human Geographer and Workplace Strategy Manager at Charter Hall and David Cairns, Senior VP Office Leasing at CBRE, about why “hybrid work” from the office and home is only the beginning of a flexible work model that will cater for how employees want to work in the future.
“Our research shows there are three major reasons why employees still want to visit an office: collaboration with colleagues, access to technology and improved productivity. So while commercial landlords fear office leasing demand will shrink in the face of hybrid work, they can be assured there’s still an important role for the office to play and hybrid work is only the beginning of the what has been dubbed ‘the future of work’,” said director of WORKTECH Academy Jeremy Myerson.
“The time is now for landlords to plan for how workforces will use and access space, not just in this current COVID environment but also a decade down the road – where creating diverse environments to meet the demands for ‘liberated work’ will be essential.”
“Work has been permanently unshackled from physical spaces since the pandemic and leaders now must consider policies that allow employees to be the judge of how, when and where they work best. While the role of the traditional office is not dead, what this report shows is it’s certainly changed to be part of a broader liberated work ecosystem,” added Hub Australia CEO and founder Brad Krauskopf.
“What this work ecosystem will look like is still evolving, as key learnings from the past two years of hybrid work are applied and technology catches up to the new demands of split workforces across virtual and digital environments. We’re seeing the rise of space-as-a-service, including coworking, hub-and-spoke arrangements and suburban work hubs, in addition to remote and work-from home models. It’s why we’ve seen corporate enquiry for Hub Australia sites spike by 60% since the beginning of 2021.
“We believe the new in-demand employee benefit will be offering employees choice of company workspace. Providing workspaces that are hospitality-centric, offer advanced future-proofed technology while supporting health and wellness are essential to meeting demands of the modern worker.”