New data suggests that workers currently working to a hybrid routine overwhelmingly want to retain the option to work from home – and would consider quitting any job which denied them the ability to.
Research from payroll and benefits platform Employment Hero has shown that of more than 2,000 UK-based knowledge workers (essentially, employees who are able to work at home some of the time), 88% wanted to work from home for at least one day a week and 39% wanted to work remotely every day. Just 12% wanted to go to the office every day.
Many, but not all, have been granted some level of flexibility, with 22% working fully remote and 42% working in a mix of remote and at the office. Over a third (36%) were now entirely office-based.
This push back into the office was likely to cause friction, particularly with younger employees – some of whom have been working at home for a significant chunk of their careers.
One third of those aged 25-34 said they would likely quit if forced back into the office.
Of those of any age already in a remote or flexible arrangement, nearly half (44%) said they would either quit or consider it.
Any enthusiasm for a “forced return” to the office came overwhelmingly from management, who were by far the happiest about the prospect. Three quarters (76%) of employers or senior executives were happy about a return to the office, compared to 51% of non-manager professionals.
The top reasons cited by employees as advantages for home-based working included climate change and the cost of living crisis.
Remote working was seen as the best option for preventing climate change by 59% of respondents, and for its positive influence on personal finances by 52%. Over half of workers in marginalised groups (54%) agreed remote work protected them from discrimination at work, compared with just 14% who said it didn’t.
Charlotte Boffey, head of UK services at Employment Hero, said that the findings suggested that the “pre-pandemic office is not coming back”. She said retaining flexibility was key for employers who wanted to hold onto their staff – and attract new ones.
She added: “Employers unhappy with this new normal should consider exactly what is making them uncomfortable, and look to mitigate that issue. If they feel their employees are unmotivated at home, they are likely to be unmotivated in the office too. Getting an exact read on your culture through an anonymous survey could be a good first step to fix wider issues in the workplace – where-ever that workplace is.”
“Those who are adamant on a full return to the office should look at the reasons why employees are so keen to stay at home and consider addressing them. Paying for an employee’s commute in full or in part, or providing healthy and free food could go a way towards alleviating cost of living concerns.”