One third of younger Brits would quit job if forced back to office

New data shows knowledge workers overwhelmingly want to retain the option to work from home – and would consider quitting any job which denied them the ability to. The survey of over 2,000 UK-based knowledge workers by Employment Hero’s 2022 Remote Working Report found 88 per cent wanted to work from home for at least one day a week. 39 per cent wanted to work remotely every day, 36 per cent two to three days a week – while just 12 per cent wanted to go to the office every day.

Many, but not all, have been granted some level of flexibility, with 22 per cent working fully remote and 42 per cent working in a mix of remote and at the office. Over a third (36 per cent) are now entirely office-based. This push back into the office is likely to cause friction, particularly with younger employees – some of whom have been working at home for a significant chunk of their careers. 33 per cent of those aged 25-34 said they would likely quit if forced back into the office, and a further 20 per cent said they would consider it. Of those of any age already in a remote or flexible arrangement, 44 per cent said they would either quit or consider it.

The forced return to the office came overwhelmingly from management, who were by far the happiest about the return to the office. 76 per cent of employers or senior executives were happy about a return to the office, compared to 51 per cent of non-manager professionals. Top reasons cited as advantages for home-based working included climate change and the cost of living crisis.

Remote working was seen as the best option for preventing climate change by 59 per cent of respondents, and for its positive influence on personal finances by 52 per cent. Over half of workers in marginalised groups (54 per cent) agreed remote work protected them from discrimination at work, compared with just 14 per cent who said it didn’t.

Charlotte Boffey, Head of UK Services at Employment Hero, commented: “This survey confirms that the pre-pandemic office is not coming back, and employers should recognise that by working with their employees to develop good hybrid working. Some ability to work from home is definitely important. This doesn’t mean everyone wants to stay at home all the time – but it does mean that retaining flexibility is key for employers who want to hold onto their staff – and attract new ones.”

“Employers unhappy with this new normal should consider exactly what is making them uncomfortable, and look to mitigate that issue. If they feel their employees are unmotivated at home, they are likely to be unmotivated in the office too. Getting an exact read on your culture through an anonymous survey could be a good first step to fix wider issues in the workplace – where-ever that workplace is.”

“Those who are adamant on a full return to the office should look at the reasons why employees are so keen to stay at home and consider addressing them. Paying for an employee’s commute in full or in part, or providing healthy and free food could go a way towards alleviating cost of living concerns.”