Management consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) is warning employers will be making a “potentially fatal mistake” if they use the end of Covid-19 restrictions to force staff back into the office every day.
Data obtained by AWA through workplace surveys of nearly 10,000 employees during lockdown found that, before Covid-19, 35 per cent of staff were happy to work five days a week, but that has now dropped to just three per cent, and 86 per cent of workers now want work from home at least two days a week. These figures are constant across all age groups.
AWA has also found that staff prefer to go into the office in major cities on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, raising the prospect of offices being packed midweek and empty on the “shoulder” days of Monday and Friday. Unless work patterns are effectively management by employers, AWA has warned that inefficient use of offices would be expensive and bad for the environment.
Andrew Mawson, Managing Director of AWA said: “That last two years have shown us that properly managed hybrid working is beneficial to both employers and employees. Research among organisations we advise globally has shown only three per cent of knowledge workers want to go back to the office five days a week, with the overwhelming majority wanting to work from home at least two days. Talented people will choose the employers that give them flexibility and – as we’ve seen with the so called ‘Great Resignation’ – employees will quit jobs if their bosses force them back into the office all the time.
“Employers have to realise that the genie is out of the bottle. Workers have seen that flexibility can work and bosses who are not sensitive to their employees’ needs will suffer accordingly.”