Latest data shows employers and employees still disagree on WFH hours

While negotiations over hybrid work continue, the disagreement over hours worked in the office and from home has narrowed in favour of the employer, according to the latest Taking the Pulse of the Nation data published by the Melbourne Institute and Roy Morgan.

The survey results show nearly all Australian workers demand to work some of their hours at home and hybrid work has become an embedded part of our workplaces, but there is continuing tension between employees and employers about how much time should be spent in the office.

Key findings:

  • Employers have gained ground in negotiations for in-office hours. In April 2021 employees wanted to spend 75% of their time at home, but in June 2023 that had dropped to 65%.
  • Almost all workers (94%) would like to work at least part of their work hours at home and 64% would like a hybrid arrangement.
  • In June 2023, 40% of workers reported they disagreed with their employer’s demands and would like to spend more time working from home than permitted.
  • Not all workers want to stay at home. 25% of workers prefer the office despite being offered flexible arrangements by their employers.
  • Employers are twice as likely as employees to want work conducted full-time in the office.
  • The amount of workers who want a larger portion of their workweek spent at home has increased from 31% in April 2021 to 40% in June 2023.

The report was authored by Professor Ragan Petrie, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research.

“It is interesting to see how the workplace is evolving. Employers have had to figure out how to manage a hybrid workforce that is not running back to full-time in the office anytime soon. Previous notions that work and management of workers can only be done in an office continue to be reimagined,” said Professor Petrie.

This report uses survey responses from several waves of the Taking the Pulse of the Nation (TTPN) survey, from April 2021 to June 2023. The TTPN survey, run by Melbourne Institute in conjunction with Roy Morgan, was conducted bi-weekly through 2021 and then monthly from 2022 among a representative sample of Australians. The total number of respondents across the waves used in this report is 13,293, and of those, 4,685 are working and have tasks they can perform at home (60% of those working). The findings are based on these 4,685 responses.

See the full report here.