Energy crisis could spark U-turn on return to office plans

UK bosses are considering asking workers to stay at home to save on office energy bills this winter, according to a new survey of 1,000 senior leaders at UK companies. According to the findings, 64% of senior leaders are considering reversing their rhetoric around encouraging employees back into the office and 74% of business owners feel the same, as the cost of living begins to bite for companies This is according to research from freelance platform Fiverr.

However, this change of heart from businesses could spark backlash amongst UK employees. According to 1,000 UK office workers surveyed as part of the same study, the average worker predicts they could save £38 a month on home energy bills by coming into the office over the winter period.

When asked how they plan to support employers through the cost of living crisis in winter, 42% of business leaders say they plan to offer mental health support. Nearly a third (30%) of leaders will offer overtime and 22% of workers plan to ask for overtime and extra hours.

UK workers are also considering taking on side hustles (45%) to support themselves during the cost of living crisis. Working remotely has helped 70% of UK workers achieve a better work life balance, giving them more time to explore passive income if required.

Bukki Adedapo, Fiverr’s Head of UK, comments: “The divide between workers’ and bosses’ opinions towards remote and office work is becoming increasingly apparent. We have now reached a point where productivity and in-person connection at the office is at loggerheads with UK businesses’ urgent need to cut energy costs during the winter period. In addition, 41% of the companies surveyed said it is likely their remote work policies will change again in 2023. For workers, this instability may be a cause for concern. During this time, it is vital that companies provide clarity on their intentions and give employees the support they need during this period of uncertainty. Employees that do not feel that they are being given the choice about how and where they work may seek positions where this choice is clear.”