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Economy

How Remote Work Undermines Employee Loyalty

Most workers want to keep the flexibility they had during the pandemic. And they no longer have any qualms about changing jobs if this isn't possible.

An employee works alone in a large, otherwise empty training room at an Atlanta accounting firm, where most employees now work from home with remote access to the company's computer system

Employees see less and less reasons to stay in their current position

Samir Hamladji

"Remote work possible.”

This perk is increasingly valued by candidates as they seek a new job.


"It was my first question during the recruitment process with my new employer. Even though it was mentioned in the job offer, I wanted to be sure that it wasn't just an advertisement," says Gaëtan Beaurepère, 28, who, after spending several years working for a large consulting firm, will be joining one of the latest French unicorns, PayFit. Beaurepère says that as a consultant, his work was interesting and rewarding but he didn't necessarily have the visibility he wanted to advance his career.

“The use of remote work, for example, was at the discretion of the client,” he says. “I was looking for more permanent flexibility.”

Happiness matters

Like Beaurepère, employees under the age of 35 are those most looking for flexibility. Indeed, 65% state that flexibility is a decisive factor in their career choice. This is at least one of the findings of an OpinionWay study for Microsoft France entitled "Company loyalty, a capital that is running out."

The health context has put the issue of happiness at work back on the agenda.

It’s a new situation for some organizations. Even after two years of the pandemic, many are struggling to identify the new demands of their employees in this area. Nadine Yahchouchi, director of Microsoft 365 and the architect of this study, says that it is "sometimes complicated for some managers to question and rethink cultural pillars that were once focused on the physical office.”

According to data collected by Microsoft 365, 45% of employees see less and less reasons to stay in their current position and nearly one in two (49%) admit to having fewer qualms about applying elsewhere.

"The health context has put the issue of happiness at work back on the agenda,” Yahchouchi says. “This unprecedented situation has prompted employees to refine their thinking about the meaning of their work.”

​Rediscovering meaning

A quest for meaning has led Emilie*, 30, a journalist with a major news channel, to move on to other horizons. "Finding meaning in my work was a prerequisite for my reflection," she says. "The successive lockdowns and periods of distance working during the peak of the pandemic helped me to be introspective.”

The health situation also weighed on her decision. "When you work in a news channel, you are surrounded by an anxiety-provoking atmosphere because you are constantly confronted with this subject," she says. "I could hardly stand my daily routine. This reinforced my uneasiness.”

Emilie will now focus on "quality over quantity" in her new role within a more modest news structure, and on topics that are more in line with her values, namely craftsmanship, eco-responsible fashion and ecology.

a man looks at his French window while working on his laptop during lockdown

Successive lockdowns and the pandemic led to introspection for many

unsplash/yasmina

How do you rebuild employee bonds?

One solution for building strong employee loyalty might be corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies that provide weight to a company’s values. According to the Microsoft 365 study, a company's CSR policy, like its environmental and societal impact, represents a strong pull for employee loyalty and plays a role in the commitment of 85% of them.

Charlotte Vandeputte, a talent manager at Deloitte, says that "all of the discussions we have with students, during forums, or with potential future employees during recruitment interviews, include a lot of questions about Deloitte's CSR commitments. Employees really want to contribute to our strategy on these issues.”

Supporting employees in their passions is the winning recipe.

Among the company's "resolutions" for 2022 is including "pro bono" work in the teams' schedules. “We are going to propose to all our employees to devote two days a year, which will not be Saturdays or Sundays, to pro bono activities, either through volunteering, such as mentoring, carried out directly by the Deloitte Foundation or through initiatives that they will submit to us,” Vandeputte says.

Maybe supporting employees in their passions — no matter where or when they work — is the winning recipe.

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Photo of a damaged building in Kharkiv, after Russian missiles hit the city in northeastern Ukraine, killing at least one woman and injuring three others.

A damaged building in Kharkiv, after Russian missiles hit the city in northeastern Ukraine, killing at least one woman and injuring three others.

Ginevra Falciani, Inès Mermat, Renate Mattar and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Sawubona!*

Welcome to Monday, where Russian missiles hit residential buildings in Kharkiv, a blast at a Peshawar mosque kills at least 28, and Serbia celebrates “God’s racket.” Meanwhile, we have a look at how the world had long viewed California as the epitome of the American Dream, but is now worrying about the Golden State’s many woes — including the first-ever major layoffs at the internet giants of Silicon Valley.

[*Swati, Eswatini and South Africa]

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