Work from home has become the most common search term for people looking for a new job, with experts saying businesses need to 'cough up' better pay to keep staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed many workplaces, with three years of lockdowns and restrictions indicating many employees can do the job from home.
'Work from home' has become a number one search topic on employment platform SEEK, and that occurred multiple times during 2022.
"Previously jobseekers may have searched for 'nurse' or 'part time' or more specific vocation-related words," SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.
"Millennials are the most likely to value flexible working when looking for a new role, with 32 per cent saying WFH options are a 'must have' when considering applying for jobs, compared to 27 per cent for gen X, 17 per cent gen Z and 15 per cent baby boomers," she said.
Working from home became easier under federal legislation late last year, with Labor's Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill.
Edith Cowan University associate professor Ben Farr-Wharton said that legislation put the onus on the company to have flexible work and it "can't just be a preference that people turn up at work".
"The company, if it's challenged, has to show why a person needs to be physically there," he said.
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"The worker can say 'I want to work from home' and if the company says 'we don't do that, that's not in our practice'. That's not a reason."
Businesses are recognising the desire to WFH, and the number of job ads on SEEK that mention 'work from home' increased 11-fold from around 1200 a month in 2019, to 13,200 in 2022.
"Unsurprisingly, the largest increase in working from home roles were in the public and professional services, which saw significant growth, 1349 per cent, in job ads offering flexible work options since 2019.
"The industrial, consumer services and construction sectors are inherently less likely to be able to offer work from home roles," Ms Banks said.
Job ads rose to record levels for the first five months of 2022, and the balance of power remains with employees and candidates.
Ms Banks said this means businesses have to work harder than ever to attract and retain their staff.
Despite rising inflation, Mr Farr-Wharton said businesses should absolutely be paying their employees more.
"Yes costs are getting bigger, but many Australian organisations have comfortable and healthy bottom lines," he said.
"People need to be asking for more money and businesses need to be coughing up at this stage, because there is such poor wage growth and a now skyrocketing cost of living.
"Either we become an impoverished society and have an elite few that have all of the lion's share of money, or we start these corrections."
Research from The Journal of Nature said the ideal human state is to be physically connected with those that they work and getting eye contact, because so much of our communication is non-verbal, Mr Farr-Wharton said.
But, it also acknowledges gen Zs and millennials want families to stay together.
"They want to prioritise the raising of their children. So, there is an ideal state between working together physically in one space, and then also having a bit of time each week where you are potentially home or another location outside of the office," Mr Farr-Wharton said.
This is called the hybrid work structure - three days together, two days at home.
"You can make it work, you just have to set up routines to have ideal coordination," he said.
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