One-in-10 Britons plan to return to the office five days a week 

WFH forever? Just one-in-10 Britons forced to work at home during pandemic say they plan to return to the office five days a week

  • 90 per cent of workers still want to keep working from home at least part-time
  • Proportion of people going to workplace every day fell from 11% to 8% in a year 
  • Most common reason given was that it had become part of ‘normal routine’
  • Fewer than one in 10 Britons want to return to their workplace full-time despite the end of Covid pandemic era working from home rules, new figures reveal.

    Some 90 per cent of those quizzed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) want to keep working from home at least part-time despite efforts by ministers to get people to return to city centres. 

    While just six per cent wanted to work from home full-time, 84 per cent said they wanted to have a hybrid lifestyle where they split their time between home and the office. 

    And the proportion of those wanting to spend the majority of their working week at home rather than their traditional workplace has also risen by 12 percentage points in the past year since rules were relaxed.

    The proportion rose from 30 per cent to 42 per cent between April 2021 and February, with the proportion wanting to work permanently from home rising from four to six per cent.

    At the same time, the proportion planning to commute five days a week fell from 11 per cent to eight per cent. The percentage planning to go to a workplace for the majority of their time also fell, as did those planning an even split.

    The figures appear to show that workers are ignoring pleas from ministers to return to offices and other sites.

    The ONS noted that the most common reason given for retaining WFH was that it had become part of workers’ ‘normal routine’. 

    It came as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey admitted that while he’d like more staff to return to Threadneedle Street it would operate a ‘balanced’ regime.

    Some 84 per cent of Britons want to work-from-home at least occasionally, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    Some 84 per cent of Britons want to work-from-home at least occasionally, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    More than a third (38 per cent) of those earning £40,000 a year or more were splitting their time, compared to eight per cent of those earning £15,000 or below.

    More than a third (38 per cent) of those earning £40,000 a year or more were splitting their time, compared to eight per cent of those earning £15,000 or below.

    It came as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey admitted that while he'd like more staff to return to Threadneedle Street it would operate a 'balanced' regime.

    It came as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey admitted that while he’d like more staff to return to Threadneedle Street it would operate a ‘balanced’ regime.

    While the proportion of workers who planned to hybrid work at all has not changed overall much since April 2021, that hybrid working pattern has shifted more in favour of spending most working hours at home.

    There is also a large difference in income. More than a third (38 per cent) of those earning £40,000 a year  or more were splitting their time, compared to eight per cent of those earning £15,000 or below.  

    Mr Andrew Bailey told the Jobs of the Future podcast with ex-Spad Jimmy McLoughlin that the organisation had ‘surprised itself’ with how much could be done from home.

    He said besides minding the gold stores ‘most other things… at one time or another in the last two years have been done from people’s homes’.

    Mr Bailey said: ‘We’re now in a position where our staff, not all the time, are back here.’

    But he said the working environment would probably be ‘more balanced’ in future, partly because employers have to offer flexible working in order to attract staff.

    ‘We do want staff to come back more,’ he said. ‘I do think, speaking personally… you do get benefits from having face-to-face conversations of the sort that you don’t get when you’re on screen.

    ‘Secondly, I think we all face the challenge, how do we make sure that the staff that join us get the same benefits that we all got when we joined the organisation, of being able to work with and interact with people who have been here and learn from them.

    ‘And I worry about the new staff, I worry about the young staff coming in. For the last two years it has been far more difficult for them than we want it to be to acquire that knowledge and understanding of how things are done.

    ‘So for that reason if for no other I think it’s important people come to work more. But we are going to balance it.

    Mr Bailey acknowledged that people ‘take very different’ attitudes on working from home.

    But he added: ‘As employers we are all having to face the fact we’re having to recruit people in a job market where that is increasingly part of the work life balance. Because it has to be said that organisations have proved that you can do more things with home working than you thought you could.’

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