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Half of Aussie employees hesitant to stop working from home any time soon

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

With most workplaces closed and employees thrust into working from home or remotely, research shows almost half of Australians are now unsure or unwilling to go back.

The coronavirus pandemic has potentially changed the way Australians work forever, with new research showing at least half of the nation's professional population are still hesitant to return to a physical workplace any time soon.

Global employment network LinkedIn has surveyed about 1000 Australians every month since the pandemic began this year as part of its Workforce Confidence Index.

With most workplaces closed and employees thrust from offices and sites into working from home or remotely, LinkedIn found that by the end of June this year, almost half of Australians are now unsure or unwilling to go back.

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The figures include almost a quarter of people surveyed who said they'd feel safer at home, and another quarter who are hesitant to go back to a full-time, five-days-a-week office routine.

Matt Tindale, LinkedIn's managing director in Australia and New Zealand, told 9News.com.au the findings highlighted two main areas of concern for workers not wanting to head back to offices.

"First is health concerns. People worry that people aren't going to be properly social distancing or following the recommended guidelines, as well as commuting to and from work in situations they can't socially distance," he said.

"The other factor is (that) people are actually finding that it's quite effective to work from home.

"People with long commutes, those in industries where you can quite easily work from home, or you might have someone that has a family that finds it easy to juggle work and family commitments are hesitant to come back to work."

The Index found that, overall, workers in the financial industry were most concerned about returning to workplaces, with 64 per cent worried about commuting and 59 per cent concerned about safety guidelines.

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On the other end of the spectrum, people who work in public administration jobs were reported to be the most prepared to return to offices.

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Mr Tindale said the difference in perspectives when it comes to working from home stems largely from the fact that Australians don't yet know what the future of workplaces looks like.

"On the scale there's five days in the office and there's complete remote working and what we think is that we're going to see something between that spectrum," he said.

"Flexibility is going to be key to the returning future of work.

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"(Workers) know they can work from home, they can work from home very effectively and efficiently, they can save on commute times as well as juggle work-life balance.

"On the flip side, there are costs to 100 per cent working remotely. Things like mental health as we've seen... through isolation, collaboration in face-to-face settings as well as new people starting in jobs, especially graduates."

While public administration workers are ready to return to their offices, the report highlighted that they're the Australian employees feeling most pressured by their companies to return – even if they don't want to.

Mr Tindale told 9News.com.au that is most likely attributed to roles which are more difficult to complete from home, but he said that there are things employees can do to negotiate working from home with their bosses.

"Really think about the benefits of working remotely, talk about personal insight, about how you can do (your job) effectively and really be honest about potential health concerns," he said.

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"While employers may prefer to have employees in the office, you can show that working from home is easier and more effective on your personal circumstances and how that can increase or maintain productivity."

The figures come as Australia faces an uphill economic battle in light of the pandemic, which Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said could cost the nation more than $3.3 billion now that Melbourne has entered stage four restrictions as part of Victoria's state of disaster.

The nation's unemployment rate also rose to 7.4 per cent in June, despite the addition of more than 210,000 jobs, the Australian Bureau of Statistic said last month.

That mean Australia's unemployment jumped by 0.3 per cent in a month - the highest in Australia since November 1998.

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You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-australia-jobs-work-from-home-linkedin-study-workers-hesitant-to-return-to-workplaces-covid19/e534ea50-fbf6-4046-9894-ddc80c2ab16d

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