City exodus? More may be going back to the office

Despite suggestions to the contrary, Covid-19 has not caused the end of ‘city life’ with just 14 per cent now believed to be working remotely full time.

New research reveals that a third of Londoners are currently working on a hybrid basis as Covid drastically changed the working landscape with more than half of offices now offering hybrid working structures.

Employees in the capital are also demanding more from their employers, such as unlimited holiday and a four-day week, according to research from Momentive, formerly SurveyMonkey.

It also found that whilst half of Londoners would go back to the office if asked to, employers should bear in mind that almost as many would rather quit than go back into the office full time. A further 30 per cent believe that working patterns have shifted permanently and hybrid will remain a mainstay of office culture in 2022.

Alongside new work environments, proximity bias is another consideration for companies mapping their future approach.

This is the concept where employees with close physical proximity to their team and company leaders will be perceived as better workers, be sought out for their opinions more regularly, and ultimately find more success in the workplace than their remote counterparts.

While the pandemic initially gave rise to an exodus of city workers, the research shows that it didn’t last long

When asked about proximity bias, a quarter of Londoners have worries about missing out on opportunities if they are working remotely. A similar number expressed concern that their employers will not take their opinions and feedback into consideration when deciding on work policies in 2022.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

The findings demonstrate that although the return to the office is in motion, employers should still be careful about returning to old ways of working if they want to retain staff during what is now being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation.’

For instance, a larger portion of employers are taking employee opinions into account. Six in ten Londoners said they were asked for feedback by their employer during the pandemic, whilst four in ten believe that the changing work environment brought about by the pandemic has meant that employers listen to their opinions regarding business policies.“While the pandemic initially gave rise to an exodus of city workers, the research shows that it didn’t last long,” says Graham Douglas, Managing Director of EMEA at Momentive.

“In the UK, many businesses have called employees back to the office—with just 14 per cent of Londoners working from home full time. As companies determine working policies in 2022 and beyond, they must be aware of employee sentiment around how and where they work best or risk losing key talent.”

Details of the survey here


SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024