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Work from home was a necessity in the lockdown stages of the pandemic era, and it showed that knowledge workers could maintain productivity levels surrounded by their families, pets and creature comforts. Since then, corporations have made a concerted effort to get people back in the office, touting the benefits of in-person interactions, watercooler chats, and consistent immersion in company culture. As a counterpoint, many employees have advocated for hybrid solutions, and workplace flexibility has become a leading factor in attracting and retaining talent.
Brandon de Kock, BrandMapp’s Director of Storytelling says, “It turns out that hybrid work is surprisingly sticky amongst South African mid- to top-end earners. Traditionally, work from home has mostly been the preserve of those who are self-employed. There are, of course, jobs that are strictly bound to the workplace such as healthcare practitioners, retail store managers, manufacturing and hospitality employees, but many knowledge workers and corporate managers can do a lot of their work just as well from home. It seems that the pandemic gave many more people the opportunity to experience work from home, and a lot of them like it.”
BrandMapp first measured the work from home trend in 2022 and found that a staggering 56% of employed adults were either still permanently working from home or going into the office part-time.
De Kock says, “A year on, there’s barely any shift, only 47% of employed adults are back in their workplaces full-time and 54% are either following the hybrid work trend or working permanently from home.”
So, who are South Africa’s hybrid workers?
The 35 000 respondents in the recently released BrandMapp 2023 represent the 13 million adults who live in homes with more than 10K monthly household income. That is typically defined as ‘mid-market-and-up’ and comprises the country’s entire taxpaying base. De Kock says, “When we take a closer look at who today’s hybrid workers are, we again see barely any change at all over 2022. Executive level employees are more likely to be hybrid workers, and the only differential of note is that if you don’t manage anyone, you are more likely to have heeded the latest call to return to the office.”
It’s not the same across all SA provinces
Diverse industries power the economies of South Africa’s provinces, and where there are greater concentrations of knowledge workers, it seems there are more opportunities for work from home and hybrid work. Working all day from home is most common in Gauteng and the Western Cape, which along with the Free State also rank highest for hybrid work. In provinces such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo where industries such as mining, agriculture and forestry dominate, workers are more likely to be back in their workplaces full-time.
De Kock says, “Given the strong urging for workers to get back to the office, it’s significant that BrandMapp 2023 has revealed barely any change in hybrid work in South Africa. It’s possible that work environments have changed forever, and this has impacts on workday transit and traffic, shopping occasions, frequenting of restaurants and take-away outlets as well as other lifestyle and social habits.”
BrandMapp 2023 insights are now available directly from the BrandMapp team at WhyFive Insights and by subscription via Telmar, Softcopy, Nielsen and Eighty20. For data access email Julieemail@example.com
Visit www.Whyfive.co.za for an overview of what’s in the new data.