Drop in remote work among employees in Australia

While more employees are working from the office, the rate of employees working from home is expected to remain steady.
By: | December 18, 2023

The rate of employees working from home in Australia has fallen as more managers are setting staggered return-to-office mandates.

Workplace experts believe the rate of employees working from home may hold steady in 2024 due to the rising demand for better work-life balance and a skills shortage in some industries that may give employees more power to decide where to work, reported The Guardian.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that 37% of people regularly worked from home during August. This was less than the 40% reported in the same period in 2021 when more parts of the country were still in lockdown, but still higher than pre-pandemic levels, said Bjorn Jarvis, ABS’s Head of Labour Statistics.

“[This shows] that many of the changes in behaviour and working arrangements have continued beyond the pandemic,” Jarvis said. “Prior to the pandemic, the percentage of employed people working from home regularly had been steadily increasing by around a percentage point every two years.”

Dr Connie Zheng, Co-Director of the University of South Australia’s Centre for Workplace Excellence, also sees working from home to continue in 2024 despite rising demand for employees to work on-site due to the shortage in high-end skills and talent. “This could only encourage those workers who are more likely to demand that flexible work arrangements, like working from home or remote working, be offered by their employers,” she said.

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However, employees would be more likely to return to the office to further their career progression, or if they felt lonely and isolated without social interaction with colleagues.

The ABS data revealed managers and professional workers are far more likely to regularly work from home (60%) compared with the workforce average (22%).