20 May 2021

Only 15% of people want to go back to the office full-time, Ciphr survey finds

73% of UK workers would accept a reduction in pay in return for being able to work remotely permanently

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Ciphr editorial

Ciphr editorial

Ciphr editorial posts articles that have been written or contributed to by Ciphr's in-house team of writers

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  • 73% of UK workers would accept a reduction in pay in return for being able to work remotely permanently
  • 43% of people who are expecting to continue working remotely on a full-time basis would prefer to work from the office some of the time
  • 40% of respondents believe that employers should be able to prevent employees from travelling abroad for holiday due to Covid-19

A survey of 1022 UK workers, carried out by mobile HR software provider Ciphr, has revealed that only 15% of UK workers, who have been working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, want to return to the workplace full-time. However, nearly three times as many people (43%) are expecting to have to return to the workplace full-time once restrictions are lifted.

72% of people would like to split their time between the workplace and working from home, with 11% wanting to work remotely full-time.

Of workers who are expecting to continue working remotely on a full-time basis, 43% would prefer to be able to return to the workplace either some or all of the time.

It’s parents with one child who are most likely to want to continue working from home on a full-time basis (13%) vs 11% of people without children and only 5% of parents with four or more children.

UK bosses have a lot of work to do to reassure and safeguard the welfare of their employees if they want them to return to the workplace. 75% of workers said that they are somewhat or very concerned for their welfare with regards to Covid-19 if they are required to return to the workplace in some capacity.

To protect them from Covid-19, if they were to return to the workplace, 58% of respondents said they would like hand sanitisers throughout the building, while 48% said they would like to see their workplace cleaned more often, and 47% would like to limit the number of people allowed into the building each day. The least popular measures were requiring employees to provide evidence of being vaccinated (24%), creating one-way systems throughout the workplace (32%), and requiring employees to have their temperature checked before entering the workplace (34%).

With the summer holidays on the horizon, 40% of respondents believe that employers should be able to prevent employees from travelling abroad for holiday due to Covid-19.

Asked “How much of a pay cut would you be prepared to take if it meant you could work remotely permanently?”, 27% of respondents said they would not accept any pay cut; however, 73% of respondents would accept some reduction in pay. 12% of respondents said they would accept between a 5.5% and 10% reduction in pay. Of the 294 respondents who said they’re expecting to have to return to the workplace full-time, but their preference is to continue working from home in some capacity, only 22% wouldn’t accept any pay cut in return for being able to keep working from home permanently with 15% saying they would accept a reduction in pay of over 30% if they are allowed to continue working from home. The median pay cut that all respondents said they would accept was 3.5%.

Commenting on the study, Claire Williams, director of people and services at Ciphr, says: “When it comes to returning to the workplace there’s clearly a disconnect between what employees expect will be required of them and what they would actually do given the choice. Employers need to be aware that the majority of people prefer working remotely in some capacity and they risk losing the skills and experience of many great employees if they are inflexible in their approach to remote working. Furthermore, employers may find it difficult to reject flexible working requests within the legal framework, on the basis that most employees have successfully worked from home whilst potentially also juggling childcare. That coupled with the introduction of new technology in daily ways of working hopefully pave the way for more flexible employers across the board.

“The flip side of this is that there are many employees who are expecting to continue working remotely full-time but who would prefer to be able to return to the workplace either part-time or full-time. While there are considerable cost savings to employers if they can reduce their office space requirements, they also need to consider how they can deliberately recreate some of the benefits of working from an office for a remote workforce – specifically the social aspects.

Ultimately, employers need to be very mindful of the long-term impact Covid-19 has had on employees’ expectations around flexible working, and that to retain good employees, especially as the job market becomes more buoyant, they may need to rethink their position on embracing workplace change and hybrid working.

“Workers are understandably cautious about the risks to their health if they’re required to return to the workplace and there are many steps that employers can take to reassure their employees and safeguard their wellbeing. While the results of the survey can help guide bosses about where they might want to focus their investment on safeguarding measures, it’s a good idea for organisations to gain feedback from their employees about measures they would like to see implemented for their specific situation, as well as use HR solutions like Ciphr HR to keep accurate records about their people”.

 

Ciphr is a specialist provider of HR software, payroll, recruitment and learning management systems to UK SMEs. For more information visit ciphr.com. View the survey results here, including an accompanying infographic.