With over 1,100 responses, the survey set out to understand how workers across the UK truly felt about the impending return work. When asked why they were not looking forward to heading back in the office, UK workers stated the reasons they were reticent to return were as follows:
- I prefer the flexibility of working from home (73.4%)
- I get more done when I’m not in the office (44%)
- I don’t want to deal with office politics (37.1%)
- I still feel uncomfortable because of COVID-19 (33.2%)
- I have to commute a long way (23.6%)
Lee Biggins, CEO and founder comments:
“The trend towards working from home was already gaining in popularity before the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020. However, as swathes of the UK population were forced to work from home, many have found they enjoy the benefits of working remotely and are eager to avoid returning to the workplace full-time.”
The survey went on to find that, despite such a large proportion of staff feeling anxious about heading back into the office, less than a quarter (23.2%) felt comfortable enough to discuss their worries with a manager. What’s more, a whopping 73.9% of UK workers said their employer hadn’t offered any mental health support to help staff make the transition back into the workplace.
Of the 26.1% of businesses that did offer mental health support, the most common solution was to offer a staggered return to work and regular check-ins with a manager (45.7%), followed closely by access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) (40%) and a ‘how to’ guide, to help staff prepare (28.6%).
Interestingly, a staggering two-thirds (65.4%) of employers refused staff the chance to work from home full-time or extend the hours they could work remotely.
“After such a turbulent year, it’s understandable that businesses are keen to get staff back through the doors. However, it’s important the employers remain open to the idea of more flexible working patterns. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the UK job market in many ways, and the adoption of remote working is definitely one of them. Business owners need to listen to the needs of their staff and update their flexible working policy if needed. It’s clear that many companies can operate with the majority of their staff working remotely, so embracing this revolution is the best way to move forward throughout 2021. Any employers that fail to do so may find it increasingly difficult to retain and attract new team members during a vital time of recovery and as we emerge from lockdown and restrictions.”