- Remote working flexibility is workers’ second-highest priority after salary
- 25% of respondents’ workplaces are planning on enforcing full-time office working
- Only 17% of workers want to work from the office full-time
- 31% of workers fear frequent remote-working will prevent career progression
Zurich, Switzerland, July 21st 2021 – 42% of UK office workers will consider changing jobs if they are not offered remote working provisions once restrictions are lifted. This is according to new research released today by Locatee – the workspace occupancy and analytics provider. Only 17% of office workers want to work from the office full-time once restrictions are lifted. Despite this, a quarter (24%) of respondents have been asked by their companies to return full-time to the office.
Commissioned by YouGov, the Locatee research provides insights into UK office workers’ attitudes towards remote working, and the effects on job satisfaction, productivity, and security.
Demand for remote working remains high
There is still an overwhelming desire for flexible working provisions once restrictions lift, with 81% of respondents wanting at least some ability to work remotely. 15% would like to work remotely ‘every day’, and more than a quarter (26%) want to work remotely ‘most days’. A quarter (25%) would want to split their time equally between the home and office, and just 17% would opt for full-time office working.
Younger workers are far more keen to return to office-based working than those aged 25 – 54. 42% of those aged 18-24 would opt to work from the office most or all days, if given the choice. This reflects the concern amongst 48% of this age group who fear frequent remote working will inhibit career progression.
Businesses unlikely to meet remote working demand
There is a contrast between the appetite for remote working, and businesses’ willingness to provide it once restrictions lift. A quarter (24%) of respondents flag they will have no ability to work remotely. 28% of respondents will be offered one or two days’ remote per week, and 19% will be offered three days per week. Just 15% of respondents’ workplaces will allow for full-time remote working.
Sowing the seeds of discontent
Businesses considering implementing a full-time return to the office need to be careful, as it will have a direct impact on workers’ loyalty. Overall, just under half (42%) of respondents flagged they would be more likely to change jobs if this policy were implemented. Within this group, 22% would be ‘much more likely’. When asked to consider a potential new job role, and the minimum number of days’ remote working they’d expect to be offered, a third (32%) would expect a minimum of two days per week, whilst a quarter (25%) would bank on being offered three days per week. More than one in ten (14%) would expect four days’ remote working per week, with men more likely to require this than women (16% vs 10%). 47% of respondents cite flexibility with remote working as one of their top priorities when considering a new job offer, making it the most popular requirement after salary.
Asked to identify perks which would motivate a return to office-based working, 43% would prioritise a financial incentive. £4,000 is the average amount workers would need to be paid extra per annum in order to tempt them back into the office full-time. This represents a 12% pay rise relative to the average UK salary of £31,260. Londoners on average would require £5,100 extra per year, £1,500 more than those in the Midlands or the North. Women on average would require an extra £3,750, vs £4,140 for men.
Respondents were also asked how much of their salary they would willingly sacrifice in order to secure full-time remote working. Just under half (47%) are not prepared to sacrifice any amount in order to facilitate this, but for those who are, the average reduction in salary would be £1,450.
Remote working and hindered career progression
Almost a third (31%) of respondents believe that opting to work remotely frequently may hamper their career progression. This concern is highest amongst 18-24 year olds (48%), followed by 25-34 year olds (37%). Interestingly, those respondents who want to work remotely more frequently are also the most worried about the impact on their careers; 43% of those who would like to work remotely the majority of the time feel it will hinder their progression.
Productivity and remote working
Despite remote working’s popularity, questions remain over its negative impact on productivity. Just 53% of respondents feel the standard of their work is ‘equal to or higher’ than pre-pandemic levels. Only a quarter (24%) feel their current levels of creativity match or exceed those pre-pandemic. Just 23% feel their ability to create and maintain positive relationships with colleagues matches or exceeds pre-pandemic levels.
Sleep benefits from remote working
Asked about how remote working impacts their sleeping habits, 38% of office workers state they get no extra sleep when working remotely. A quarter (24%) get between 30 -60 minutes’ extra sleep per night, whilst 13% get over an hour’s extra snoozing. Men report fewer sleep benefits, with 43% getting ‘no extra sleep’ compared to 33% of women.
Camera camera, on the wall… who’s the fairest of them all?
Frequent use of video conferencing has made a third (32%) of office workers more self-conscious as a result. This is higher amongst women (38%) vs men (26%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger workers aged 18-24 feel more self-conscious (40%).
Job security has increased since last year
Asked about how they rank their job security, 83% of respondents feel secure, and not likely to be laid-off or made redundant. Just 12% feel non-secure, down from 28% in November 2020.
CEO & founder of Locatee, Thomas Kessler: “The expectations of office workers have shifted enormously over the last twelve months, and appetite for remote working will remain high for the foreseeable future. However, the importance of physical office space in underpinning company culture should not be underestimated, particularly after a year of reduced colleague interaction.
The challenge for companies lies in developing a working environment which meets employees’ needs for flexibility, whilst optimally supporting productivity and commercial growth. Data-driven analysis will be at the heart of successful hybrid working policies, as companies prepare to embrace a very different world of work.”
Locatee is the leading workplace analytics solution that transforms complex data into space utilisation insight. Developed with a strong focus and a deep understanding of the corporate real estate challenges facing the modern world of work, Locatee empowers workplace leaders to make decisions about their business buildings with confidence. https://locatee.com/en/
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4358 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th – 25th June 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).: