Return to the office full time? Maybe, say employees

Despite an increasing number of employees returning to the office, they also recognise the benefits of working from home.
By: | July 28, 2023

While acknowledging the many benefits of working from home, more employees believe it is time to return to the office or in-person work, said just over two-thirds of respondents surveyed by Australian media company Nine Network.

Of the 535 readers surveyed in the poll, 67% say they miss the community and interaction that workplaces provide, and identified the social aspect, or lack thereof, as the biggest drawback of remote work.

Matthew Beck, Decision-Making and Choice Professor at the University of Sydney Business School, explained that employees want to return to the office as they recognise the importance of social interaction, with his research showing that employees who have been allowed to work from home are seeking more flexible working arrangements.

“What we found is that people really enjoy working from home because it gives them a little bit more dedicated time for thinking and getting through more complex tasks where you don’t want a lot of interruptions,” he told

One of the biggest benefits of working from home, is cost savings from the lack of commute. At the peak of the pandemic, employees were saving around AUD $1,700 (USD $ 1157.50) in actual monetary costs and about AUD $3000 (USD $ 2042.65) in time savings a year, according to Beck. In contrast, employees commuting 30km to and from a workplace were losing about 240 hours per year due to congestion, as well as costing an additional AUD $450 (USD $306.40) a year in petrol.

READ MORE: Full-time employment rises in Australia as more jobs added in June

Just over one-third of respondents from the Nine survey say an organisation’s work-from-home policy was important when accepting a job offer and they were not willing to accept a pay cut to work from home.

Employees, Beck added, currently prefer to work two to three days per week, which equates to 72 minutes saved per day, and up to three weeks per year for the average employee.