On Sunday, the UK’s Prime Minister spoke to the country to outline the next steps of the country-wide lockdown that was imposed last March to control the spread of the Coronavirus. Social distancing measures have forced an estimated 20 million people to work from their home, and if we consider that, as of December 2019, the people who reported working from home in the UK were a mere 1.7, the habit shift brought by the pandemic seems even more seismic.
But while many are anxiously waiting for a relaxation of safety guidelines in order to be able to see their families and friends again, there is one thing most people in the UK are not looking forward to: going back to the office. Rather than being concerned with when they’ll be back at their desks, as many as 91% of Britons hope they’ll be able to continue to work from home when the restrictions will be eased.
In fact, a new nation-wide survey conducted by Eskenzi PR and OnePoll, found that a third of respondents would prefer to continue working from home either every day or four days per week (31%). Just under a third of respondents are at the other end of the spectrum and would like to work from home one day a week, or less than weekly (25%). However, for over a third of people (35%), the dream scenario would be to opt for a half-way house and work from home for half the week. Either way, only 9% would want to work in the office full-time, suggesting that 91% of the general working population would like to have the option of working from home.
There are numerous reasons for this change in attitude, including the time wasted through commuting. Indeed, over half of respondents (54.19%) agreed that this was their main reason for favouring a greater remote working culture. Nevertheless, it appeared that the older the population, the more pertinent this was. For those aged over 55, this was a concern cited over 20% more than those aged 18-24. The second most referenced response was the more relaxed working environment at home (44.92%).
Remarkably, the opportunity to dress down for work attained 38.41% of the poll; ranking higher than the ability to work more productively (35.98%), or the feeling of being less stressed (34%) at home. In fact, it also ranks higher than spending quality time with family (28.48%).
“This survey shows that for the first time ever, people have had a taste of working from home and they love it because they’re more relaxed, they don’t need to travel and can spend time with their family and pets. Interestingly, a third of respondents think the ideal working week would be better spent half at home and half in the office. We can only hope that this great remote working experiment has shown employers that their staff can be trusted to work just as productively from home; particularly as it also appears to have a positive impact on their well-being as well as the environment. This can also be good for companies’ productivity and profitably, as they’ll need less office space with fewer people there 100% of the time, “ said Yvonne Eskenzi, founder and owner of Eskenzi PR.