Reports show that bosses are increasingly asking employees to return to the office on a more permanent basis, in a return to the pre-pandemic working environment. The problem is that many do not want to return to this title and would prefer a hybrid model to their professional life.
In an interview with Cape Talk, Advaita Naidoo, MD, Africa at Jack Hammer Global, an executive search firm, said that a lot of big companies in South Africa are giving employees back-to-work ultimatums: returning to the office or facing the loss of your job.
“We’ve seen it often with some of the biggest local businesses in South Africa, just because they’re the ones that grab the headlines, they affect the most people. But, anecdotally, I can say we’re hearing people from small and medium-sized businesses, business leaders coming in, asking what options they have at this point, trying to do a temperature check on the market,” said Naidoo.
Back-to-work ultimatums have become more common than expected given the country successfully managed homework for two years, Naidoo said. The recruiting expert said these ultimatums were met with some surprise.
Naidoo said employers asking staff to return to the office are less about the physical return to work and more about the company culture and employee value proposition. She said there was nothing inherently wrong with being back in the office, workers just want to know the reason for it.
Have employees been consulted? Suddenly, with very little notice, employees are called back to the office, Naidoo said. She said it shows how returning to the office is more about a management style than productivity.
Despite the ultimatums, Naidoo said South Africans are grateful to have their jobs and that due to the country’s fragile socio-economic situation, we are unlikely to see a big resignation across the country. many countries abroad.
Changes in the workplace
Linda Trim, director of workplace design firm Giant Leap, said more and more people have left the office environment to work from home as they struggle to concentrate. She said the way people work has changed dramatically, with video meetings being the new normal and people wanting more privacy.
“People have to give a reason for workers to come back to the office. They want so much more,” Trim said.
“Many companies are realizing they can’t keep people at home, but are struggling to find or create alternative solutions that will not only encourage a return, but also foster a better working dynamic between them. .”
A recent study by the consultancy found that when asked which they would prefer, either in-office privacy or working remotely, 55% of employees said they would work from home for two or more days. less per week if they had a desk assigned to the office. .
The study conducted by Steelcase, represented by Giant Leap, found that the most important factor for people in office today, compared to the pre-pandemic period, is confidentiality. More and more employees want hybrid collaboration spaces, individual enclaves, privacy, workstations with full or partial enclosure, and reservable work zones.
The trend of more and more people wanting to continue working from home is not unique to South Africa. As Bloomberg reported, similar findings provided by the Policy Institute at King’s College London showed that people value and appreciate working from home and don’t see a future that includes a return to the traditional five-week working week. days.
Staffing firm CareerJunction said that in the ever-changing employment landscape, one thing remains constant – it can be difficult to retain employees. In South Africa, on average, applicants stay in the same job for around two years and 10 months before moving on.
“Employees who have been in the same job for more than three years are considered above average in terms of seniority.”
That of the group May’s Employment Insights report gives some indications of a growing return to the office. He pointed to increasing hiring activity over the past three months for office-related positions. CareerJunction said the biggest increase – 23% – in hiring activity is for aadmin, office and support works.
Jobs in this sector include:
- Administrative agent
- customer/customer support
- Human ressources
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