- Only 57% of respondents feel they are as productive working remotely
- Just 13% can manage and train teams as effectively
- 31% would accept a cash incentive of £10 or less per day to return to the office
- 28% are concerned about job security over the next year
- 56% don’t understand the recent three-tier government lockdown system
UK office workers want to continue working remotely after Covid-19 restrictions lift, despite admitting their productivity is significantly reduced, according to new research released today by Locatee – the workspace occupancy and analytics provider. Commissioned by YouGov, the research provides insight into UK office workers’ attitudes towards productivity, job security, and the prospect of further Covid-19 restrictions.
Low enthusiasm for office working
According to Locatee’s research, if given the choice, just 7% of respondents would opt to return to the office full time. Almost one in five (18%) would choose to work from home every day, whilst a third (32%) would opt to work from home most days. Those with three or more children are the most likely to want to return to the office permanently (11%), whilst men are more keen than women to return (49% vs 44%).
Comforts of home working
Asked to identify the key reasons for working from home, 72% of respondents flagged ‘comfort’, whilst 50% stated they feel more productive. For a third (32%), fear of contracting Coronavirus in the office is still a significant concern. Half (50%) feel the time spent commuting is too high, while a quarter (25%) enjoy time away from colleagues.
Negative impact on productivity
Despite remote working proving popular, there is a negative impact on productivity. Only 57% feel the standard of their work is equal to or higher than it was when based in an office. Just 13% of respondents feel they manage or train teams as effectively when working remotely. Creativity and brainstorming are also hindered – only a quarter (26%) feel they can execute as effectively remotely.
Cash incentives are a key motivator in getting reluctant workers back into offices. Almost a third (31%) would be willing to accept an extra £10 or less per day to return (an additional £2,540 per annum per employee). A further 37% would accept between £20 and £30 additional pay per day (up to £7,620 per annum per employee). Increased holiday allowance is the second most popular motivator to return (38%), followed by more desk space (23%) and better technology such as laptops and mobiles (22%). A quarter (25%) of respondents state that no incentive would encourage them to work more frequently from the office.
Concerns over job security
Job security over the next year is a concern for over a quarter of respondents (28%). Londoners are the most worried about holding onto their job (37%), followed by those in the Midlands (32%) and the East (26%). 73% of women feel secure in their jobs, compared to 70% of men. 45-54 year olds are the age group most concerned about losing their job (35%), compared to 23% of 25-34 year olds.
Confusion over ‘three-tier’ system
The recent ‘three-tier’ lockdown system imposed by the UK government has proved confusing and difficult to understand. Well less than half (40%) feel they could confidently explain the system to a friend, whilst the majority (56%) feel ‘not confident’. Only 34% of all respondents aged 18 – 24 years olds feel could explain the restrictions.
Reactions to extending lockdown
When asked to consider a scenario where the UK was still under the current lockdown measures in six months (April 2021), over a third (37%) would feel disappointed. (41% male vs 33% female). Regionally, those in London and Scotland would be most disappointed (42%), along with those with three or more children (46%). Over a quarter (26%) of those polled feel ‘neutral’ at the prospect, while 18% feel calm.
Lockdown weight gain
Weight gain during lockdown is an issue for more than half (53%) of respondents, with females more likely to feel they’ve put on weight than males (57% vs 50%). 60% of separated or divorced respondents feel they’ve gained weight, compared to 50% of those married.
Thomas Kessler – CEO and co-founder at Locatee – comments:
“The research shows us there’s a clear appetite for UK office workers to retain the option of remote working after restrictions lift. However the issue of reduced productivity needs consideration: it’s worrying that only 13% of managers can effectively lead teams remotely.
Requirements for UK office space will undergo a significant shift over the next year, with fewer workers needing a full-time desk. This creates an opportunity for companies to take a data-driven approach to workspace planning, and create an optimal office environment which both serves employees’ needs, and saves on unnecessary real-estate costs. Companies which optimise their workplace early-on stand to save significant amounts, and effective planning should therefore be a key priority.”
About the research
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4373 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd – 25th October 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).