Mixed feeling on return
More than two-thirds of UK workers say their employer expects them to return to the office
More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of UK workers say their employer expects them to return to the office, but people are feeling mixed emotions about it, according to new research from LinkedIn. Around 30 per cent currently feel apprehensive, while 22 per cent are excited and more than a third (34 per cent) just want normality to resume. Around half (49 per cent) say they would ideally prefer hybrid working in the future, where some days are spent in the office and others remotely.
Just over a third (34 per cent) of people that are required to return to the office say their employer expects them back within the next three months, 16 per cent will be back before the end of the year, and 15 per cent are waiting for a date to be confirmed. More than two-fifths (44 per cent) say their employer would like them in the office 1-2 days a week, and over a third (36 per cent) have to be in 3-4 days a week. Some employers (35 per cent) have already decided which days employees must be present, with Mondays and Tuesdays set to be the busiest.
As ministers consider a more flexible future and companies rethink return to office plans in light of extended COVID-19 restrictions, LinkedIn surveyed 2,000+ workers in the UK who have been working remotely due to the pandemic to understand where they want to work in the future.
Employees have different preferences on where they would like to work – with 49 per cent preferring hybrid working, 38 per cent wanting to work remotely, and just 12 per cent looking to work full-time from the office. The challenge many employers now face is creating workplace policies which accommodate them.
Employers are creating flexibility, with 56 per cent of workers saying their employer is enabling hybrid working, and just 16 per cent indicating that their employer requires them to work from the office full-time. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) say their employer has already changed their contract to stipulate that they can work either from the office or remotely.
According to the research, people that prefer hybrid working say they will benefit from the flexibility (60 per cent), they believe it offers the best of both worlds (57 per cent), and it will help them to save money (43 per cent). One of the biggest challenges they indicated about hybrid working however is that employees that choose to work remotely may potentially fall into the trap of “digital presenteeism” where they have to show they are working longer hours online to look committed (22 per cent).
“People are naturally still concerned about COVID-19, and this coupled with the prospect of returning to offices is clearly creating anxiety for some,” said Janine Chamberlin, UK country manager at LinkedIn. “Others are looking forward to seeing their colleagues again and getting back to a sense of normality. What we’re seeing on LinkedIn is people craving flexibility and the option to decide for themselves where they work. It’s positive to see companies responding by enabling hybrid working which gives employees this freedom, and will be what people look for when considering new jobs. Hybrid working will also help open up jobs to people who may have previously been locked out of them due to location, disability or care-giving responsibilities. With a more flexible future inevitable, we’re on the cusp of helping to make work more balanced and inclusive.”