July 11, 2022

Melbourne Institute & Roy Morgan – Taking the Pulse of the Nation

Topic: Press Release, Public Opinion, Special Poll
Finding No: 9007
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Taking The Pulse of the Nation

Informing Australian economic & social policy.

A Melbourne Institute & Roy Morgan partnership

Taking the Pulse of the Nation (TTPN) surveys the Australian population to capture their sentiments and behaviours related to current economic and social issues

Since 2020, the Taking the Pulse of the Nation (TTPN) survey has collected compelling information on the changing behaviours and attitudes of Australians. Together, Melbourne Institute and Roy Morgan understand the value in capturing the voices of Australians on the issues that matter right now. We use this information to create expert analyses to directly inform social and economic policies for our Nation.

This survey data is available to the public upon request. Please contact us for more information and access.

Workers and employers disagree on working from home, especially female workers

As Australia emerges from pandemic restrictions, workers and employers are negotiating the balance of work from home and work from the office. Workers have become accustomed to the flexibility of working from home, but employers may want more time in the office than workers want to give. This disagreement over hours in the office and at home has remained stable over the past year and is more pronounced for women.

Over half of Australians can perform their work tasks at home

Some jobs require workers to be on site, e.g., construction, supermarkets, but 61% of workers report they have work tasks that can be performed at home. This improves the likelihood that workers and employers could negotiate on where a worker performs their job.

Australians want part of the workweek at home

Almost all workers (88%) would like to work at least part of the workweek at home, and 60% would like some hybrid version where they work at home and in the office. However, only 49% of workers report their employers would agree to hybrid work.

Workers and employers disagree

Workers and employers agree on the number of hours spent working from home only 37% of the time (Figure 1 - see link below for further details). Over one-third of workers would like to spend more time working from home than their employer would permit. Conversely, the disagreement goes the opposite way as well. About one-third of workers want to spend more hours in the office, even when their employer would let them work those hours from home. This pattern has been relatively stable from April 2021 to May 2022 and reflects a mismatch between what employers and workers envision for the workplace.

Female workers disagree the most

Women are 25% more likely than men (8 percentage point difference) to want to spend more time working from home than their employer would allow (Figure 2 - see link below for further details). This is not because women are more likely to be caregivers. A 7-percentage point gender gap remains even after accounting for having children in the household.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that being in the office is not necessarily an essential requirement for workers to perform their jobs successfully. However, many employers would still prefer their workers to be in the office more often than workers would like. This disagreement in working arrangements has been relatively stable over the past year. How this settles in the labour market remains to be seen. Workers who would like more flexibility have the option of seeking alternative employment, and given current labour shortages, employers may need to give workers what they want.

Author: Professor Ragan Petrie, Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Visit the Melbourne Institute Taking the Pulse of the Nation web portal for further information - and to access interactive charts and other TTPN findings.


Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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