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‘2024 flexidus’ – will demands to return to the office see a mass exodus of staff?

RMIT University 2 mins read

A business and psychology expert comments on whether increased calls to return to the office will be the start of a mass exodus of staff. 

Dr Melissa Wheeler, Senior Lecturer, Business Administration 

Topics: flexidus, working from home, work flexibility 

“Four out of five flexible workers want work-from-home flexibility, but many employers have begun demanding people return to the office.  

“The companies that provide the platforms for virtual productivity are leading the charge for returning to the office, and the irony is not lost on employees or the public.  

“Tech giants such as Zoom, Google, Meta, X, and Amazon all recently announced that staff must return to the office at least two to three days per week.  

“However, many people won’t be willing to give up their flexible working arrangements to be forced back into commuting and working in a set place at fixed times. 

"Potentially, they will leave that job and look for new opportunities that offer greater flexibility and suit their lifestyle, contributing to a new a career phenomenon that has been informally dubbed ‘flexidus’. 

“Poor relationships between employers and employees have likely developed through a disconnect between preferences, needs, and expectations - both feel exploited and taken advantage of.  

“It could be a sign that there is a disconnect between employees and employers about what a job constitutes, what is expected from each party, what one is willing to give, and what benefits one can expect to receive.  

“Employees, who demonstrated their capacity to work remotely and deliver when lockdowns and travel restrictions were mandated, reported better work-life balance, less time commuting, and more physical activity. 

“Employers, on the other hand, worried about the dissipation of their old work culture, drops in innovation as a function of no spontaneous meetings and discussions between employees who interact in a workspace, and a lack of bonding between team members. 

“For many, work has become less important, and they prefer to focus more time on their personal life than appeasing their employer.  

“Trends like quiet quitting are symptoms of a gap in respect between both employee and employer, and something must be done to restore trust from employers, and protection and fulfilment for employees.” 

Wheeler’s research explores the field of moral psychology and applied ethics, including workplace flexibility, gender roles in work and care, ethical climates, and responsible leadership. 


Contact details:

Interviews: Melissa Wheeler, 03 9925 1881 or melissa.wheeler@rmit.edu.au  

General media enquiries: RMIT External Affairs and Media, 0439 704 077 or news@rmit.edu.au

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