UK workers expected to return to offices, but people are feeling mixed emotions about it

More than two-thirds (69%) 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, the world’s largest professional network. Around 30% currently feel apprehensive, while 22% are excited and more than a third (34%) just want normality to resume. Around half (49%) 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%) of people that are required to return to the office say their employer expects them back within the next three months, 16% will be back before the end of the year, and 15% are waiting for a date to be confirmed. More than two-fifths (44%) say their employer would like them in the office 1-2 days a week, and over a third (36%) have to be in 3-4 days a week. Some employers (35%) 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.

With employees having different preferences on where they would like to work – with 49% preferring hybrid working, 38% wanting to work remotely, and just 12% 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% of workers saying their employer is enabling hybrid working, and just 16% indicating that their employer requires them to work from the office full-time. Nearly a quarter (24%) 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%), they believe it offers the best of both worlds (57%), and it will help them to save money (43%). 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%). 

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said: “People are naturally still concerned about COVID-19, and this coupled with the prospect of returning to offices is clearly creating anxiety for some. 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.”


LinkedIn commissioned Censuswide to survey 2,014 professionals in the UK on 16th June 2021 to understand where people want to work in the future. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. 

About LinkedIn

LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the way companies hire, learn, market, and sell. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through the ongoing development of the world’s first Economic Graph. LinkedIn has 756 million members and has offices around the globe. /

Author: Editorial Team

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