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Coronavirus: One in five Brits would take a 7% pay cut to keep working from home

Brits are willing to sacrifice £2,031 a year to work from home. Photo by Nick Ansell/PA via Getty
Brits are willing to sacrifice £2,031 a year to work from home. Photo by Nick Ansell/PA via Getty

One in five Brits are now willing to take a pay cut to continue working from home as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased, research shows.

In a survey of 6,961 UK workers by Totaljobs, 20% said they would agree to take a 7% pay deduction to avoid returning to the workplace — about £2,031 less, based on UK national average salary.

Men are more likely to consider this proposal than women, at 27%, compared with 13%.

The offer also appeals more to the younger working population, with 28% of 18- to 34-year-olds wanting to continue remote working, compared with 19% of 35 to 54-year-old workers. This drops to just 10% of people over 55.

The offer, however, is not for everyone, as nearly a fifth (19%) of UK workers said they would be keen to continue working from home but would refuse to take a pay cut.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Will we have a legal right to work from home in the future?

The end of the 9-5?

Following the lockdown, 58% of UK workers believe “normal” has been re-defined, and three in five think the world of work “will never be the same again.”

The unavoidable remote working has proven successful in recent months. Nearly a third (28%) of UK workers, however, still don’t think their employers would be open to continued flexible working, despite nearly a quarter (23%) reporting enjoying working from home, and nearly half (49%) even believing their work-life balance has taken a turn for the better during lockdown.

A quarter of workers have already requested to continue in this set up. The “new norm” may have to wait, however, with 15% of continued remote-working requests already denied by employers.

The rate of return

One in seven (15%) UK workers are not interested in working from home permanently, perhaps a result of the ongoing uncertainty around what the return to the workplace would look like.

While nearly a quarter (24%) of UK workers are not sure of what measures they would want to see put in place, more than two-thirds (65%) believe it’s their employer’s responsibility to ensure all health and safety measures are met. Also, less than half (43%) trust their employer to guarantee this, and 12% believe nothing will be in place to allow them to return to their workplace safely.

Workplace safety measures required by the UK government vary between industries, but 43% of UK workers say they would be interested in a staggered return to work, with employees coming back across weeks and months. Londoners, however, are keener to avoid the commuter rush and adopt flexible working practices (48%) or take a continued remote working approach (35%).

While working from home has had some advantages, nearly three in five (56%) said they are now missing the apportioned work-life balance and “work as usual” life. For 29% of workers, it’s the everyday workplace dynamics that are missed, while 46% pine for the everyday workplace interactions with their colleagues.

READ MORE: Half of Brits say they are more productive working from home

The main concern for people wanting to return to the workplace is safety (56%). However, just under a third (32%) are concerned about their commute — but rising to three in five Londoners.

The worry about the return to work is also impacting vulnerable communities, with 15% of shielded groups concerned not only for themselves but for their family and people they work with, given the potential transmission of the virus.

Communication concerns

Communication from employers to their workforce has impacted day-to-day working relationships during the pandemic. Three in five UK workers are worried about their job security as a result, and 70% of UK employees are now re-evaluating their careers or considering a change, including a move to different industry.

This significant number could partly be attributed to the fifth of employees who have not felt trusted by their employers to carry out their roles in isolation. In fact, only 39% report having felt trusted by their bosses. A fifth 20% of UK employees are considering quitting their roles as a result of the way that their employer has generally handled the crisis.

The figures revealed not all employers have been consistent in communicating with staff about their business during the crisis, with nearly as many employees claiming their company has done a good job keeping the communications open (38%), as have not (36%).