Third of staff would refuse full-time job in an office


imageCoronavirus Article Bar with counter One in three workers would not take a job that required them to be in the office full time, research has found.

The Government’s official work-from-home guidance was removed on July 19, and in recent weeks a growing number of employees have returned to their offices full time.

The London Underground recorded its busiest morning since March 2020 two weeks ago.

But a poll of 1,000 workers carried out last month for IWG, which provides serviced offices, found that 33 per cent of those surveyed said they would not consider applying for a new job that did not offer flexible or hybrid working.

When asked how many days workers expected to be in the office, just 18.5 per cent said five days a week.More than half said that splitting their time across two workspaces was good for their mental health.

Ministers and officials are concerned that city centre economies will never recover unless workers return to their desks.

Earlier this year, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, warned that offices which closed their doors risked losing good employees who would “vote with their feet” and leave.

However, he has admitted that a full return to the office post-pandemic will “probably not” happen.

The Treasury recently posted job advertisements which indicated that employees would be allowed to work permanently from home for most of the week, flying in the face of Mr Sunak’s attempts to revive cities by pushing for office workers to return.

Many government departments have adopted a rota system, with civil servants heading into the office only two or three times a week.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has said that working from home is likely to be in the Government’s “Plan B” if there is a Covid surge this winter .

However, bosses have other ideas, with 86 per cent of leading UK chief executives recently saying that they had no plans to close their companies’ existing workspaces, according to a survey by KPMG.

This represents a significant shift compared with last year, when 69 per cent of global business leaders said that they were preparing to downsize their office estates.

The flexible-working trend is also reflected in house sales.Prices for homes outside major cities have grown by 10.8 per cent over the course of the pandemic, compared with just 8.9 per cent for those in cities.

Recent research by Cornerstone Tax found that over the course of the pandemic 3.3 million people had moved away from cities and urban areas.

Data from a government-commissioned CoMix survey published at the end of August, which has tracked daily face-to-face contacts since the start of the pandemic, showed that people’s socialising with others had barely risen since the country came out of lockdown, something which scientists have attributed to a reluctance to return to the office.

John Edmunds, a professor of epidemiology and population health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that Britain’s failure to return to the office accounted for the bulk of the gap.

“I think working from home is the single biggest factor, not just because it cuts out work contacts, but also there are social and travel-related contacts that are associated with working in the office,” he said.

“We are still miles away from normal.”

Related Topics UK coronavirus lockdown, Rishi Sunak, Tube (London Underground), Coronavirus, Sajid Javid.

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