Topia Research Finds Remote Work Policies Drive Resignations

Annie Erling Gofus - Apr 07 2022
Published in: Global Workforce
| Updated Apr 27 2023
A majority of workers want to work from anywhere and will leave if companies are not flexible.

A growing number of office employees are eager to seek new employment if their company does not provide flexible work options. That is according to research by global talent mobility technology firm Topia, which found that there is disagreement over the form the future of work will take. 

According to a study by Topia, 29% of those who changed jobs in 2021 and 34% of those who plan to in 2022 said their employers' lack of flexibility was a significant influence on their decision-making. Meanwhile, 64 percent of those forced to return to their full-time jobs said the demand makes them more likely to begin looking for employment.

According to the "adapt to work anywhere" research, office workers are much more likely than home-based employees to want flexible working conditions—and they will change jobs to obtain them. Last year's Topia Adapt research revealed that employees want to be able to work from anywhere in the "New Normal," and that a growing number of businesses see the advantages. By 2022, there's a stronger sense on both sides that remote working isn't really working out for a variety of reasons.

Last year’s study, which showed that remote work had evolved from a semi-temporary COVID-19 safety precaution to a standard and expectation, has only verified this fact. Despite the fact that most human resources experts are aware of the advantages of remote employment, government and immigration compliance remain a greater hazard than they believe.

The third annual Adapt study focuses on remote work attitudes, the driving forces behind a fantastic employee experience, and the value of mobility. According to Topia, the poll was conducted on behalf of CITE Research from December 22, 2021 to January 11, 2022. 1,481 full-time office employees were interviewed for the study. The participants, all of whom worked for multinational businesses, were equally divided between the United States and the United Kingdom, with a total of 299 human resources professionals.

The 2022 research focuses on "flexible work arrangements," which include any job done outside of the typical office. While everyone knows this is a growing trend, not many are aware of the legal risks and consequences that can result from hiring an independent contractor. An independent contractor is someone who works for another person or company on a project-to-project basis.

In 2021, 29% of people changed their jobs, and in 2022, 34% of people are planning to resign. Many employees are disappointed with their organization's remote work policies, and lack of flexibility is a major factor in why people change or want to resign from their jobs. 

The ability to work from home is viewed as a potential benefit by 46% of employees, and 35% also cited a lack of flexibility to work remotely as a reason to find a new employer. A desire for remote work is so strong, that 64% of those forced to return to the office full-time say this makes them more likely to look for a new job.

Flexibility is a top priority for job hunters

Despite the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are readily available in the United States and the United Kingdom, most people do not want to return to their desks full-time. Public health was once a driving force behind remote employment, but it is no longer relevant. The freedom to work remotely is important for achieving a great employee experience.

Flexible work arrangements are valued by 72% of respondents as the third most essential quality in a new employer, behind high compensation and employee well-being, but above great culture, professional development opportunities, social impact, and autonomy.

56% of respondents say that the ability to work in any location they want is an "exceptional employee experience." This is tied with having the right technology to work efficiently. Being empowered and trusted to do their job with little supervision was the most important factor for employees.  

One of the reasons employers are hesitant to implement flexible work rules is because they are concerned about their ability to determine where workers are working and for how long. Last year, 60% of HR professionals were confident they knew where most of their employees were located. That number fell to 46% in 2022. HR still has a blind spot in determining where employees are working and how long they're there. The resulting tax and immigration compliance issues are significant.

Most (90%) HR professionals are confident that employees will accurately report the days they work outside their home state or country. However, 66% of employees admit to not reporting all the days they work outside their home state or country.

Employees appear to violate HR's location reporting regulations inadvertently. Rather than being complicated, cumbersome, or unclear, the procedure for submitting reports is simple to overlook, time-consuming, or misunderstood. 91% of employees are okay with their employer tracking their location to the city level. This is a high enough level of detail for HR and finance departments to make sure that tax and immigration laws are being followed correctly all over the world.

“It’s clear that remote work is here to stay, and our Adapt study suggests that if companies say no to flexible work arrangements, they will lose talented people and struggle to replace them,” said Steve Black, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Topia. “To provide an exceptional employee experience, organizations need technology that welcomes employees to explore, request, and pursue remote work opportunities. The back-end compliance needs to be automated and accommodating of employees who change locations frequently.”

Employees who do not report all of their days working outside their home state or country may create tax, compliance, and safety concerns for both the firm and employees.

To be compliant, HR must know where employees are working in order to withhold and report the required taxes. This ensures that the business is properly established to hire individuals in a specific location so that any commercial, immigration or tax concerns may be addressed immediately.

It's also HR's responsibility to be aware of the location of employees in order to ensure their safety or well-being. This makes it more difficult for HR executives to do their jobs, as well as the overall company activities, which is why having suitable technology in place is so important.

With the amount of remote work expanding at such a fast rate, it's critical to guarantee that adequate security precautions and training are in place to protect against hacking, as much as possible. CEOs have recognized the need for this link between HR and security.