NEWS2 June 2021

Majority of UK office staff want flexible working

Covid-19 News People Trends UK

UK – Almost nine in 10 employees would prefer a fully flexible return to office work following the end of Covid-19 restrictions, according to research commissioned by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

Research agency rankings desk office_crop

The research found that 89% of workers wanted to be able to work as many days in the office or remotely as they wanted, and 75% favoured a 3:2 working model split between the office and home.

The least favoured option was full-time office work ( 31%), although this rose to 59% of those who have been furloughed and 68% of people starting their first jobs.

The findings were based on an Opinium poll of 1,000 adults aged 18 or over in the UK, with additional qualitative work carried out among IPA members between April and May 2021.

Commuting was the biggest concern raised in the research, with 38% citing it as a worry, followed by Covid-19 security at work ( 31%) and the financial costs of office life, such as lunch costs and travel ( 29%).

A quarter of respondents said they were anxious about feeling stressed on their return to the office, with four in five wanting mental wellness initiatives to be put in place.

The survey found 68% of respondents wanted to see dedicated spaces and infrastructure for communicating with remote workers put in place in the next two to three years.

Respondents were most looking forward to seeing colleagues face-to-face ( 48%), getting out of the house ( 41%) and easier collaboration with colleagues ( 34%), with one in five respondents saying ‘feeling less lonely’.

Paul Bainsfair, director general of the IPA, said: “How we feel about work/life balance and the commute will influence not only the work we create and media we select but the nature of our own offices.

“How agencies can best open their doors to employees, subject to government guidance, over the next few months and potentially change our workplaces in the long term is an interesting and complex debate.”