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85% of workers want remote work in 'tug of war' with employers: study

Some are even willing to accept a 16% pay cut on average for the ability to be fully remote

A woman using a laptop on a dining room table set up as a remote office to work from home. Workers told to self-isolate due to coronavirus will receive sick pay from day one, the Prime Minister has announced, as England's Chief Medical Officer warned that a UK epidemic is now
Flexibility appears to be a key advantage of remote work, according to Robert Half Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

The majority of Canadian respondents to a new study from recruitment firm Robert Half say they want the ability to work from home, and some are even willing to take a pay cut for it.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents say they're interested in hybrid or fully remote positions, the survey found.

One-quarter of respondents say they would accept a salary reduction of 16 per cent on average for the ability to work fully remote. Marketing and creative professionals, working parents and workers aged 18 to 25 were most likely to report they'd take a pay cut.

We continue to be on a bit of a collision course between what employers are looking for and what employees are somewhat expectingMike Shekhtman, Robert Half

However, while demand for hybrid and fully remote work remains high as the country emerges from the pandemic, it appears job postings aren't keeping pace. Only 22.9 per cent of all new job postings in January were advertised as remote, Robert Half says, an extremely modest uptick from 20.6 per cent in the year prior.

"I think we continue to be on a bit of a collision course between what employers are looking for and what employees are somewhat expecting," Mike Shekhtman, senior regional director at Robert Half, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

Organizations are trying to bring more team members back into the office to foster a sense of community but employees want to be able to work where and when they want, he adds.

"It's a little bit of a tug of war," Shekhtman said.

Flexibility a key advantage

Shekhtman says flexibility seems to be one of the top benefits cited by remote workers.

"It gives them the autonomy to create, not only where they work, but when they work, as well. It could be a situation where somebody is a working parent, they have the flexibility to maybe do a drop off instead of commuting an hour into the office," he said.

"The ability to balance life and work is very important for individuals."

Job satisfaction was also higher among remote workers, the survey found, despite roughly three-quarters of respondents who had flexible work hours saying they were clocking longer days.

While remote employees might be able to better balance life and work, and save on commute times, not showing face in the office has some drawbacks.

Sixty-five per cent of workers say they had more meaningful relationships with colleagues they've met in person than those met virtually.

Four in 10 remote workers were also worried about being passed over for promotions or project opportunities because they're not as visible to managers compared to in-office employees. The survey found those concerns might be somewhat misplaced though. Eighty-six per cent of managers say they give all staff members, virtual or not, equal opportunity for career advancement.

The online survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. It included responses from 1,100 workers and 1,449 hiring managers between mid-October and early November.

Michelle Zadikian is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @m_zadikian.

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