Hybrid work is here to stay according to UK workers; and businesses must be flexible to retain talent

Envoy, the workplace platform that helps modern workplaces manage hybrid work, today released the results from its latest UK Return to the Workplace Report, examining employee attitudes to work this year and the trends that will shape employee retention and a return to the office.  

The findings reveal that hybrid (a mix of working in the office and at home) will continue to be the preferred way to work for the majority (57%) of the UK workforce this new year, with a growing trend moving away from home working and towards a physical workplace. As knowledge workers approach two years of working primarily from home, it’s clear that fully remote work is waning and we are craving in-person connection. In comparison to a survey by the University of Strathclyde in March 2021, which found that 31% would prefer not to spend any time at all in the office, but rather stay at home, Envoy’s research found that only 5% of UK workers would now choose to work from home all of the time – a significant change over nine months. 

The report comes at a time when companies’ plans to bring teams on site more regularly are challenged by the latest Coronavirus Omicron outbreak, and the UK government imposing stricter guidance for home working.  

Larry Gadea, Founder and CEO at Envoy said: “The numbers show that folks are aching for community and want to come back to the workplace. And once they go back, they like it. The draw are in-person interactions that make socialising and work collaboration so much easier,” said Larry Gadea, CEO and founder of Envoy. “That said, they want their autonomy too. They want control over when and how they work. When you think about creating a great workplace that people love, we’re more than halfway there. We know what employees want – and how to make their experience better. We just need to do it.”

Key report findings include: 

·       Hybrid work will continue to be a priority for workers in 2022 

o   The majority of the UK workforce (57%) would prefer to work hybrid in 2022. 

o   This year, 38% want to work in-office 100% of the time, and 22% want to work remotely most of the time with some time in-office, demonstrating that people are now ready more than ever to get out of the house and see their coworkers in person. 

o   People working for smaller companies are more likely to want to work in-office 100% of the time (42%), compared to those working in teams of more than 1,000 people (31%) 

o   11% more men than women would prefer to work in-office most of the time, with some time remotely. 

·       The physical workplace is making a comeback 

o   Three quarters (73%) of UK workers would choose to work in a physical workplace (office or coworking) 100% or most of their time this year. 

§  Returning to the office is more popular among men than women, with 5% more men choosing to work from an office all or some of the time, and 3% more women choosing to work from home all the time. 

o   Fewer people want to work from home in 2022: Only 5% of UK workers would choose to work from home 100% of the time this year.  

o   However, workers are put off returning to the office due to a long or costly commute (35%) or lax Covid safety precautions (31%) – with this concerning older workers (40% of 55-64 YOs) more than younger workers (29% of 25-34 YOs). 

·       Flexibility is a key driver for talent retention and happiness at work 

o   A majority of UK workers (60%) are likely to change jobs within the next year. The most popular reason being for a higher salary (39%), particularly for those of a younger age group (18-24), followed by a lack of flexible working policies (24%). 

o   Employers must look after their younger workers and listen to their working needs – three quarters (76%) of those planning to leave their jobs in the next year are aged between 18 and 24.  

o   Flexible working proves to be an increasing talent retainer: More than a third (38%) of UK workers would look for another job if their employer lacked a flexible working policy or didn’t allow hybrid working. 

o   3 in 10 (30%) wish to see companies offer scheduled flexibility and hybrid working options this year, in a bid to help retain employees. 

·       Socialising with colleagues and improving mental health is what drives people to return to the office 

o   37% feel socialising with work friends, and water cooler moments, is what excites them most when considering the choice to work in the office.  

o   A quarter (25%) of respondents feel excited about improvements in their mental health and work-life balance when considering the choice of working in the office. 

o   Face time with managers and career advancement is least important to workers (16%) when considering working in the office.  

Author: Editorial Team

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