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Perceptions and Realities of Workplace Opportunities

by | Mon, Feb 5 2024

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More than half of Australian workers believe that those travelling in to the workplace receive better opportunities than those working from home. In fact, recent research suggests that many people prefer to be at the office because of the social consequences of working from home.

Ashley Fell, a Social Researcher at McCrindle Research, recently joined us on 20Twenty to share her latest research findings. She says the early indications are that people associate returning to the office as being beneficial for their careers.

Better Opportunities in the Workplace

‘This research may be a little bit counterintuitive to some of the narratives that we have heard around the benefits of hybrid,’ says Ashley. ‘But what this study is showing us is that more than half of Australian workers suspect that those working in the workplace get better opportunities than those working from home.’

For people who make the trek into the office, it seems there is a perception that they’re more committed to putting in extra work than those who are at home not having to commute. There are different benefits that those in the workplace actually receive as opposed to those who are in a more remote capacity.

‘For those who are working in a hybrid style,’ says Ashley, ‘approximately 57% are worried that they’re missing out on some discussion after a video call ends, while 65% worry that they miss out on the side conversations during a meeting. Again, it’s the idea that there’s something you sacrifice when you take a more remote position.’

Collaborating With Others

Two in three Australian workers find that there is greater team productivity when they gather with their colleagues, as they are more easily able to solve problems and make decisions compared to when working from home. There’s a different vibe when you’re actually in the room with other people as opposed to collaborating over a screen.

‘Something we’ve learned as a result of the pandemic and screen-based communication,’ says Ashley, ‘is that when you are using a screen and you set up a meeting to connect with people who aren’t in the room, it does seem a bit more formal and transactional. Whereas the organic relational things happen when you’re in the room with others.’

While there are positives and negatives to both ways of working, this particular study did highlight some of the challenges with remote and hybrid work. But it also highlighted the many different roles that a workplace can play for people.

‘For some, work is simply a job,’ says Ashley. ‘But to many more it’s a lifeline to social interaction, purpose and a place of belonging. I think we’re starting to realise there are amazing benefits that come with gathering with other people in person when it comes to work.’

Listen to Ashley’s full interview on 20Twenty below: