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Coronavirus: Only 44% of UK staff are eager to get back to the office

Over a quarter (27%) of workers expect everyone to wear masks when they return to the office. (Getty)

Only 44% of UK employees currently working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic are eager to return to the office, a survey has found.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of employees said they are open to working from home full time and never going back to the office, according to the survey of 2,000 employees by job site Glassdoor.

Logistical challenges and the the implementation of social distancing measures are some of the factors putting employees off from getting back into the office, with 75% expecting sitting two metres apart from colleagues will be mandatory and 66% anticipating restrictions on how people use the corridors.

A third (34%) think there will be barriers or screens up around the office and 64% anticipate use of communal spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms will be restricted.

Over a quarter (27%) of workers expect everyone to wear masks and 16% expect people to wear gloves at work.

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The coronavirus pandemic has also had an impact on what employees expect from their workplace, with 57% currently working from home say that office-based perks such as free food, games machines, fancy coffee machines and on-site gyms are now less important to them.

Instead, 58% said that they are now more concerned with employee benefits and perks related to physical and mental wellbeing, such as mindfulness and fitness apps, wellbeing allowances, private healthcare and access to online therapy. 

The majority (72%) of employees currently working from home think there will be a slow, phased return to the office, with 46% expecting to go back into the office between June and August 2020. A further 30% expect to be back at their desks between September and October this year and 1% think they will have to continue working remotely until 2021. 

For those workers who are keen to get back into the office, 69% want to get back behind the desk to regain some feeling of normality, 63% miss socialising with colleagues, 38% are tired of working from home and 36% said there are fewer distractions in the office. 

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Joe Wiggins, EMEA director at Glassdoor, said: “Many people are understandably cautious about returning to the office, imagining all sorts of restrictions ranging from which entrances and exits they can use to how they get a cup of coffee.

“Wearing a mask and gloves all day sitting at a desk does not sound like much fun: so much so that 63% of employees are open to working from home full time and never going back to the office.”