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Return to office could spark mass resignation

One in four UK workers say they will resign from their job if flexible working policies are revoked, a new survey reveals.

As the government prepares to lift England’s lockdown, a study by HR software company Personio found that employers could face revolt if they insist on a return to a 9-to-5 office routine.


Over half of employees have seen a change in working hours as a result of the pandemic; 29% are working for longer, but 37% are working fewer hours.


Appino surveyed over 1,000 full-time UK employees and HR professionals on behalf of Personio to investigate the impact of Covid-19 on the UK workforce and to find out if companies are prepared for a long-term digital shift. And while 41% believe their employer is likely to permanently retain the flexible working hours introduced as a response to the pandemic, more than a third (37%) feel their company is avoiding implementing new hybrid working paradigms and is persisting with compulsory attendance.


However, only 12% of surveyed employees are dissatisfied with the way their employers have looked after them in these uncertain times.


Flexible working hours and mental health

Almost half of all UK employees (43%) are able to work from home, while a third (31%) also said they have been offered flexible working hours, and 22% were introduced to new digital tools to aid communication and organisation. 


One in three (34%) have been offered equipment such as chairs and tables. A third (33%) indicated that they are being offered mental health support and a quarter (26%) say they are being provided with on-going coaching on the challenges of managing a work-life balance. 


A shift to a hybrid working model

While 43% of UK employees say their employers have implemented hybrid working practices that are enabling them to work from anywhere, 32% are unsure if flexible working hours will become a permanent part of their company’s day-to-day operations.


“Covid-19 forced employers to introduce and trial new flexibilities to the daily work routine in an exceptionally short period of time,” said Ross Seychell, Chief People Officer at Personio. ”In most cases, it hasn't had a negative impact on individual or company productivity. Employees across the world have now seen how flexible working could look in future, and quite rightly they will expect their company to have a plan for this.


“Now, businesses must work towards implementing the tooling and technology in the long-term to ensure they can continue to attract and retain the best talent in a hybrid world of work.”


Tech talent want to work from home

Following the release of ONS jobs data which found that UK Tech has created more than 100,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, a new survey from Harvey Nash Tech has found that technology companies may need to dramatically scale back their office space, as staff want to mainly WFH post Covid-19. Preliminary data found that:


  • > Over three quarters (79%) of tech workers (the equivalent of over 1 million people working in the sector) want to continue working the majority of the week (3-5 days) from home after the pandemic and 95% want to work 2-5 days a week from home. This compares with only 42% of tech professionals working 2-5 days a week from home prior to the pandemic.


  • > ‘Work location and remote working’ have been identified for the first time as one of the top three most important factors when looking for a new job in tech, second only to pay. The top three are now – remuneration, work location and remote working, and a strong culture & strong leadership.


  • > Over a third (38%) of tech professionals also reported that homeworking during the pandemic has increased the distance they are prepared to live from the office by a little (12.59%) or significantly (25.44%).


With the equivalent of 1 million UK tech workers aiming to continue working the majority of the week from home after the pandemic, Harvey Nash believes that this will not only have a huge impact on tech office space and hubs, but it will also drive many more remote jobs particularly in areas such as cyber-security, data analysis, software engineering /development, and those with skills in AI and machine learning.


Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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