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More Than Half of Us are Happy to Work from Home Indefinitely

Picture of an empty office

Following the lockdown between March and July of 2020, the UK government encouraged employees to return to work as normal – albeit with social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

However, in a recent U-turn, response influenced by the swift rise in infections across the country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that workers should again seek to work from home wherever possible.

Our new study has revealed that over half of UK employees would be happy to work from home for as long as required. With 54% of respondents having no issue at all with being asked to do so – and some actually preferring the current arrangement.

Returning to the Office

After the relaxing of the original COVID-19 lockdown, 70% of office workers returned to work in an office environment. However, of those, only 44% of this portion returned on a full-time basis.

Furthermore, 47% returned on a part-time basis, working from home the rest of the week. While 6% worked staggered hours.

The office workers in the West Midlands were the most likely to go back to work in an office full time following the initial lockdown, with 41% of employees doing so. On the other hand, Yorkshire were the least likely at 20%.

Back to Working From Home

Now that the COVID-19 infection rate is increasing in almost every region, workers UK-wide have once again been recommended to work from home wherever possible.

Following this announcement, 37% of workers who have returned to the office, are now working from home once again.

Preparations are being made for a further 33% to work from home, while 21% continue to work from the office.

Results by Region

57% of South Easterners have already returned to working from home, making this the region with the highest occurrence of this activity. Yorkshire has the lowest at 26%.

However, Yorkshire also sees the largest number of residents awaiting preparations that will allow them to return to working from home – at 42% – compared to just 10% of North Easterners, making the latter the least likely to be in this position.

Yorkshire is also home to the highest percentage of respondents who will not return to working from home at all, at 38%.

The Impact of Working From Home

54% of all survey respondents said that they would be happy to continue to work from home for as long as required. Another 30% said that while they are happy to work from home, they miss working from an office.

However, 15% said that they dislike working from home and that they find doing so difficult.

Upon asking what UK workers liked best about working from home, the lack of commuting time and expense was voted as the best aspect. This was followed by being able to dress in casual clothes. Taking charge of their break times landed in third place.

Image showing the top 5 things we like about working from home.

When asked what they missed about working from an office, 39% replied that they missed their colleagues. 14% said they were less productive without an office routine. 9% missed the comfort of their office chair, while 7% missed their desk or other environmental aspects.

4% missed their “work husband/wife”. A fifth did not miss anything from their office at all.

Of the 4% who missed their “work husband/wife”, 90% said that they had been in touch with them socially on at least a bi-monthly basis while working from home. Of those, 26% did so at least once a month, and 23% at least once a week.

Many respondents said that they wished that they could take certain aspects of home working with them when returning to the office once again. For example, 35% would like to retain a more comfortable dress code.

22% said that they wanted to take their dog in with them, and 17% wished they could take their cat.

Image showing what we'd liek to take back to the office.

A fifth said that they would miss their garden when back in the office, and 11% said they would miss their view.

Where in the UK do we have the best view?

Image of a map showing where we have the best views from the home office.

There were also those who miss the office too much as 19% would not take anything from their working from home routine.

The Practicalities of Working from Home

Upon returning to work from home, 37% of our respondents were given no new equipment to assist them when carrying out their duties. 28% received new equipment and were also provided with additional tools or software to aid them.

While 72% of the sample group said that they had everything they needed to continue working from home, 14% reported that they were still using their own personal equipment.

There is no clear way of knowing when, or if, office working will return to the way it was pre-COVID-19, but it seems that home working is a suitable alternative for most in the interim.

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