Cost of living struggles could see more New Zealanders leaving their jobs for companies that favour flexible working.
A newly released report from Employment Hero, titled 2022 Remote Work Report, revealed almost half (48 per cent) of hybrid and remote workers would consider quitting their jobs if they were asked to return to the office full-time.
According to the report, 82 per cent of respondents said that working remotely at least some of the time is better for reducing the cost of living.
Furthermore, 81 per cent of workers said they would consider working from home arrangements when job hunting.
Alex Hattingh, chief people officer at Employment Hero, said the future of work is undeniably hybrid and remote.
"The writing is on the wall for employers who have a choice when it comes to providing remote working arrangements," Hattingh said.
"There is evidence that remote work provides benefits that an office attendance mandate simply can't match. It is important to care about employees' financial health and overall well-being in the current economic climate, and one of the ways to do this is by giving trust and freedom."
Hattingh said remote work is a cost-effective benefit for employees.
"With the rising cost of living, more people are looking to save however they can - whether it's money and fuel costs by avoiding the commute or holding off on buying coffees throughout the day," she said.
"And as our study has proven, 82 per cent of New Zealand employees have agreed that working remotely at least some of the time was better for reducing the cost of living - and can also help with productivity, due to little to no distractions.
"The icing on the cake of giving employees the option of flexible work conditions is that they will thrive more from both a mental health and work-life balance perspective."
Hattingh noted, however, that working from the office some of the time was not without value.
"A lack of social connection affects all ages, 18-24-year-olds were 61 per cent more likely to state their main reason for returning to the office was feeling isolated at home, while those aged 55 and over were 102 per cent more likely to have missed the office camaraderie," she said.
The report surveyed more than 1000 New Zealand workers as part of a global survey on remote working and how it has helped soften the blow of costs of living, rising interest rates, and the housing crisis.
It also highlighted how the rising cost of living is disproportionately affecting younger employees.
More than half (54 per cent) of those aged 18-24 said they have a second job or side business, compared with 60 per cent of employees aged 45-54 and 57 per cent of employees aged 55+ who said they have no other income streams.
Last week's inflation figures were labelled a "shocker" by economists.
The Consumer Price Index for the year to September came in at 7.2 per cent - well above expectations of about 6.5 per cent.
This follows an annual increase of 7.3 per cent in the June quarter and 6.9 per cent in the March quarter.
Food and housing were the main contributors to the stubbornly high inflation number.