Only a third (26 per cent) of full time UK workers want life to return to the way it was before lockdown, a new survey suggests. More than 40 per cent of respondents revealed that they like working from home, and nearly half (49 per cent) prefer a hybrid model, being in favour of working from home for an average of three days a week and commuting into the office for just two days a week.
In addition, half of those surveyed do not expect to return to the office before the end of the calendar year or even into the beginning of 2021, with just 5 per cent of respondents not wanting to work from home in the future. However, only one in five feel they are more productive at home.
In the nationwide Covid-19 Remote Working Survey of 1,000 people, all of whom are currently working from home, conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by Eskenzi PR, the results also indicate that the longer we spend out of the office, the more acclimatised we become to working from home. There was an increase of 13 per cent since a similar survey was conducted by Eskenzi PR in May.
While the majority (60 per cent) do not want to go back to the way things were before lockdown, this desire is particularly strong amongst ‘Generation X’. Nearly 75 per cent of 45-54-year-olds do not want to return to the old “normal”. However, there are generational differences, as ‘Millennials’ and ‘Generation Z’ are the age groups that would prefer to go back to the way things were before lockdown, with more than 61 per cent opting for this.
The leading reasons contributing to this shift from traditional work structures are because, while working from home, people are able to: save more money (35 per cent), spend more time with their loved ones (27 per cent), and generally feel less stressed (24 per cent). In fact, almost three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents indicated that they were better off financially because of the lockdown, with half (50 per cent) of respondents saving money from not commuting. This burden is noticeably lighter for those living in Greater London (55 per cent).
Anxiety surrounding the return to offices will most likely play a large part on mental health. Nearly 60 per cent of respondents are concerned about the ability to social distance while in the office. Similarly, the human factor plays a large part when considering anxieties, as 17 per cent are concerned about office cliques or strained relationships with colleagues.
“Many companies do not have offices conducive to social distancing and this will need to be addressed quite carefully through hand sanitising stations, making sure desks are far enough apart and keeping the numbers in the office in check,” said Yvonne Eskenzi, founder of Eskenzi PR & Marketing.
“As a business owner myself, I understand the pressure that other businesses will be under to make sure the physical and mental well-being of staff is a priority. Studies such as ours are useful indicators for business owners to help them shape the future of what the “new normal” will look like at their organisations.”