‘Selfish’ Gen Z employees in Australia refuse to return to office

Employers are angry with the growing number of young employees who work remotely, despite calls for them to return to the office.
By: | May 17, 2023

Young employees in Australia are being called out for their “selfish ways” due to their preference to continue working from home amidst the growing demand for employees to return to the office.

While many young Australians believe that many jobs can be performed at home, a growing number of organisations believe that more employees should return to the office to work on-site. CEOs like Nicole Duncan of CR Commercial Property Group, for example, deemed these people “just selfish” for wanting flexible working arrangements, as businesses are suffering due to less business travel and employees being distracted while working from home.

Others such as Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director, Business Sydney, are also concerned about employees working from home, calling for employees in Sydney to work on-site at least three to four times a week to prevent being a “part-time city”. Younger employees who work in the office, he said, develop key leadership skills as there are certain aspects of leadership that cannot be learned over Zoom or in a purely online environment. By being in the office, these employees would benefit from learning from their older and more experienced colleagues, said Nicolaou, who also stressed the importance of employees socialising and interacting with each other. 

READ: Race discrimination restricts access to leadership roles in Australia

Academics such as Karin Sanders, Senior Deputy Dean (Research and Enterprise) and Professor in UNSW’s School of Management and Governance, however, believe that employees who are forced back to the office for more days will see demotivated and less committed. The idea that young people have to be in the office to better learn to be leaders is “old fashioned”, she claimed, adding that employers risk losing talented employees to organisations that offer flexible work arrangements, reported news.com.au.