(Bloomberg) -- Workers in Paris would quit or demand a pay increase if they’re asked to return to the office on a full-time basis. 

According to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, only 28% of the French capital’s workforce would choose to stay in their job at their existing level of pay if they’re told to work in the office five days a week, suggesting Parisian employers have little leverage in the matter.

The survey, conducted Nov. 15-16 with 250 employees of companies with offices in Paris, found that 34% would rather find a new job than stay at their existing one if they lost their right to work from home. About a quarter said they would only stay if they were given a salary hike of up 20%.

The results show that Parisian employers may have to continue offering work-from-home policies to retain staff, or pay them more in compensation for losing that flexibility.

About 12% of those surveyed value their flexibility so much that they are willing to move jobs and accept a pay cut of up to a fifth in order to keep their right to work from home.

Flexible working arrangements became more widespread during the pandemic when national lockdowns forced staff to work from home. The policies stuck around after the pandemic, and have become a way for companies to attract and retain talent. The survey shows how much employees value the flexible working policies, and suggests they are probably here to stay.

“Working from home is widely available, with 80% of respondents allowed a form of remote working,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sirine Bouzid. “We expect flexibility to be a permanent fixture. Just 7% of our sample thought hybrid working would stop being offered by the end of the year.”

There are some ways that Parisian employers can entice staff back to the office without paying them more. Knowledge transfer and networking was mentioned by 36% and 34%, respectively, as encouraging them to come into the office, suggesting better working environments that encourage collaboration could be key. Employees also mentioned well-being facilities, waste recycling, low carbon emissions and green energy as features that could draw them back.

Some factors are out of employers’ control. About 46% of workers surveyed mentioned commuting as the biggest hurdle for returning to the office, with many pointing to delays, strikes and travel time as factors that discourage their return.

 

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