57% of Brits say they do not want the ‘normal’ way of working in a traditional office environment with 9-5 hours; yet, 42% of business leaders see a swift return to old ways.
Average Days in Office: 1.6 Days
New research from Consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates has found that Brits are going into the office just 1.5 days a week on average, compared to 3.8 pre-pandemic. Whilst this marks a big shift towards achieving a better work-life balance in the UK, new data from consulting and accountancy firm, Theta Global Advisors, has found that almost 1-in-4 Brits (24%) still haven’t been offered any flexible working options at all. There are also fears that those enjoying hybrid working policies currently could have those revoked – a study by the CIPD found that 42% of business leaders “felt that the memory of the pandemic will fade quite quickly and it won’t be long before we revert to the way we worked before COVID-19.”
Hybrid Working is the New Way of Life
Hybrid working policies have become a vital lifeline amidst the cost-of-living crisis as many Brits would simply be unable to afford to commute to work five days a week. Not only that, but financial stress has intrinsic links to poor mental health, and allowing employees flexibility and the ability to work from the comfort of their home is vital in mitigating this. Echoing this sentiment, findings from Theta Global Advisors’ landmark hybrid working study uncovered that over half of the population now do not want to work in an office, five days a week and with normal hours, with a further 40% stating that this would hinder their performance. With remote working on the rise, VPNs are becoming more popular amongst businesses, helping to prevent security leaks outside of the office. This is especially relevant amidst one of the most difficult recruitment markets on record, and employers will have to remain forward thinking in their offerings if they are to retain staff. The importance of this was also highlighted in the report, which found that a staggering 41% of the workforce are considering leaving their jobs in the next year due to a lack of flexible or hybrid working options. The fact that such high importance has been placed on these initiatives means that any companies intending on revoking them could be met with a mass exodus of talent.
Phasing Out Hybrid Working
Chris Biggs, CEO and founder of consultancy and accounting disruptor Theta Global Advisors comments: “Whilst it’s great to see that hybrid working has been embraced post-pandemic, there are concerns that these initiatives may be slowly phased out by some firms that believe they harm productivity. In my view, they have rightly become a necessity – especially amidst a cost-of-living crisis which is putting further strain on employees’ finances and wellbeing. The ability to work a few days a week in the comfort of your home makes a considerable difference in mitigating both the cost of travel and work-related stress. “Our research clearly shows that employees are seeing hybrid and flexible working as being non-negotiable, even stating that they are willing to leave their current jobs in search of better offerings in these areas. In such a competitive recruitment market, any firms looking to retract such policies could be met with a mass exodus of talent. In light of that risk, I suspect it is very unlikely we will see a large number of companies aiming to return to the pre-pandemic style of working.”
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