Business research

NAB Behavioral Insights – Q1 2022

The changing workplace – attitudes towards jobs, working from home and barriers to returning to the office.


More than 1 in 4 workers are very enthusiastic about returning to work. The biggest hurdle is commute time as employees embrace flexible working. 2 in 3 want to travel less than 30 minutes and 1 in 4 workers are planning to leave their current job.

  • COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the workplace, blending work and life with lasting impacts on workplace culture, employee attitudes and expectations. On average, 38% of the Australian working week is still at home, but workers want 49% of that (up from 44% a year ago). The NT is already at home preferred work and NSW is close. Finance and insurance, utilities, business services, and telecommunications carriers also provide their employees with an ideal mix of time at home and in the workplace. While working from home has been a positive experience for many, working remotely can also make some employees feel less connected to their colleagues and struggle to manage work-life balance. More than 1 in 4 workers are eager to return to the workplace, especially those under 50. Sometimes workers just need to be in the same place to get the job done and ensure an aligned purpose and culture. But 4 in 10 workers say the biggest barrier to returning to work is commuting time, with 2 in 3 wanting to travel less than 30 minutes. Although longer commutes can impact well-being, some trips can be beneficial as a way to psychologically create distance between work, home and personal time.
  • Employees have also become much more willing to change jobs, especially in the current economic environment. 1 in 4 Australians are planning to leave their current workplace, with resignation risks highest in telecommunications, agribusiness and construction. Some call it “the big quit,” as the pandemic encourages rethinking of careers and long-term goals. 1 in 4 workers also indicated that a reduction in commuting times to work would make it extremely likely that they would consider changing jobs. Covid also still weighs heavily on the psyche of Australian workers, with 1 in 3 highlighting fear of catching Covid or passing it on to others as a key concern back in the office. Other notable concerns include traffic congestion, loss of flexibility for exercise and other activities, having to change routines, spending less time with family and friends, and the cost of public transport. commmon.
  • Flexible working has become significantly more important for attracting and retaining talent as many employees have become accustomed to less traditional work schedules. Some companies may require a more compelling employee proposal to avoid costly and time-consuming staff travel. While the labor market is expected to remain tight, the relationship between employee and employer is now much less one-sided. The survey results are based on responses from around 1,200 Australian workers aged 18 and over between February 22 and March 3, 2022.

Find all the information in NAB Behavioral Insights – The Changing Workplace (Q1 2022)