'I walked away' | Hybrid worker quits £80k job after firm imposes full-time office return

Hybrid worker quits £80k job after firm imposes full-time office return

An employee gave up a lucrative job after bosses told the workforce to return to the office full-time.

As reported by Business Insider, 53-year-old Felicia (whose surname and employer were kept confidential), was working as an administrator in Arizona, US, and earning more than $100,000 (approx £80,500 at the time of publication).

The company had been operating on a hybrid working model consisting of three days working from home and two days in the office – a balance Felicia described as perfect.

She also claimed to get “a lot more done” on her WFH days as there were far fewer distractions or interruptions from co-workers, not to mention the time saved commuting.

But when the firm imposed an office-return mandate, things quickly turned sour for Felicia. She told Business Insider: “I know how to do my job.

“I don't need to be in an office to do my work.

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"I just knew I didn't want to go back to what it felt like before."

Felicia reportedly stuck it out for a month before deciding to quit while stuck in traffic on the way to the office one morning.

"...I walked away from over a $100,000-per-year salary to seek positions that have hybrid options so that I can have that work-life balance” she said.

Felicia added that some colleagues had also left in search of new roles still offering hybrid work.

She even told the publication she would accept a lower salary elsewhere if it meant she could maintain a strong work/life balance through hybrid working.

Workers willing to quit if made to return to the office full-time

It’s more than likely that a lot of leaders would prefer all of their employees to be in the office all of the time.

In fact, Tony Danker (the now ex-Director General of the CBI who was sacked due to claims of misconduct in the workplace) recently told the BBC that most execs secretly want all their workers to get back to the office.

Speaking to political correspondent Nick Robinson, Danker said the "whole world of work is totally gone crazy”.

"You ask most bosses, everybody secretly wants everyone to come back into the office," he said.

"I just don't think that's going to happen overnight. I think we are all coping with this...but we're going to be talking about this for a few years."

However, many of those leaders who might have plans for an office return should take note of new figures from LinkedIn, which show that more than a third of UK workers would quit their job if their employer demanded they return to the office full-time.

Ngaire Moyes, LinkedIn’s country manager for the UK, said: “We know that flexibility brings all sorts of benefits – including being a huge motivator for employees – meaning it’s crucial for employers to consider this when it comes to attracting top talent.”

Demand for remote roles hits five-year high

Despite the possibility that most firms are crying out for their employees to get back to the office, online searches for ‘work from home jobs’ recently hit their highest point in five years.

Experts at Financial-world have analysed Google Trends data to reveal the five-year high spike in searches, spiking by 123% this month alone. The increased interest in moving from in-office positions to those that are home-based comes amid strikes and the continuing cost-of-living crisis in the UK.

Google Trends data also reveals that searches for ‘hybrid roles’ are also at a five year high in the UK, exploding by 614% this month when comparing to December searches.

Coordinated industrial actions, namely train strikes, have been rife in the UK as living costs remain high and workers demand fairer pay. With no assurances that these train strikes will stop in the future, a work-from-home role becomes more enticing to workers who wish to save time and money on commuting.

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According to a recent survey reported on by The Guardian, 62.5% of 597 managers across the UK believe that working from home boosts motivation, and three-quarters believe that it increases productivity. Flexible working is becoming increasingly more widely accepted and this is reflected in online searches for such roles.

The volume of searches for ‘work from home jobs’ is estimated to be 72,000 per month in the UK. There are also currently 45,257 work-from-home jobs listed on the Indeed job site.

A spokesperson from Financial-world commented on the findings: “There is a clear demand for remote roles in the UK. The costs of commuting and the time spent doing so is proving to be a strain on many people's finances and a stressful situation to navigate among strike actions and spikes in fuel prices. Employers may have to consider welcoming more flexible work-from-home or hybrid workers to keep up with the demand and avoid losing employees. It will be interesting to see if more companies opt to offer flexible work conditions in the future.”

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Comments (3)

  • Ann
    Wed, 12 Apr 2023 1:27pm EDT
    I love office interactions - but now when I go into the office I really don't get any serious work done at all. When I think back to full time office working it was always a struggle to concentrate. The amount of work I get done now is twofold and it is much less stressful.... and guess what? the commute time is not given back to me but to the organisation, as I get carried away when I'm being productive, I am often still sat in my home office at the time I used to get home! The problem is not everyone is like me but that is the same either in or out of the office. Managers just need to get a grip by setting smart objectives, being clear about the output required and allowing staff to be autonomous about how they get the work done. This is 2023 and trust brings with it motivation and commitment.
  • martin
    Wed, 12 Apr 2023 9:44am EDT
    The question is about the office interaction, why wasn't this possible while WFH. Those office nuisance interruptions could be precisely why you need to be in the office
    My argument for WFH for more than 20 years has been a lack of office interaction, that my dealings have been global and remote
  • Martin
    Wed, 12 Apr 2023 7:53am EDT
    Tony Danker is greatly mistaken if he believes that WFH will end in a few years time and people will be back in the office 'being productive'. Managers' desire to have people in the office is not driven by the need to be more productive, it is driven by their desire for more control and the two are not linked. if they were then the productivity levels of British workers would have been far higher prior to the pandemic. Danker's attitude smacks of a failure to understand what motivates working people.

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