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Generation Z backs calls to return to the office

·4-min read
 (Studio Republic/Unsplash)
(Studio Republic/Unsplash)

Shock news from the world of Generation Z: they want to work in offices.

That’s the conclusion of research from Clockwise, which since it provides office space clearly has a vested interest, but still there are some interesting numbers here.

Gen Z, 6-24 year olds, but 16-24 for the purposes of this report, were perhaps assumed to be the least likely to find the idea of going into an office appealing.

Aren’t they for old people?

What the research shows is that 30% miss the social element of work, while around the same find it hard to differentiate between their personal and working time when working from home.

Almost three quarters of office workers (71.24%) stated that a sense of community within the workplace leads to a more productive and enjoyable working environment.

But while it is Gen Z workers, followed closely by millennials, who are most eager to return to an office environment, that does not necessitate their return to cities, this survey finds.

Two thirds of Gen Z workers in the UK are staying put after relocating from the UK’s urban centres during the pandemic.

That’s particularly interesting given that the UK government is mulling plans to grant Brits the right to work from home permanently.

Ministers have proposed legal changes that would prevent employers from forcing staff to come into the office unless they can prove it is essential. This survey, carried out by Censuswide, found, however, that the nation is evenly split in regard to the merits of home working, for a multitude of reasons.

What Gen Z thinks today will probably dictate future working practices. And the research makes it clear that the office isn’t dead as has been claimed.

Gen Z in particular prefer to work from an office, with two thirds stating as such. Around 20% lack motivation working from home, while over a quarter (27%) stated that being in the office gives them a sense of belonging and purpose.

Flexible contracts, rather than full-time remote work, are preferred across all age groups, which is reflected in how people want to work in the post-pandemic world.

Only 31% of the 18-24 year-olds surveyed said they intended to move back to a city after the pandemic, with the rest staying put in suburban and rural locations or weighing up their options.

Around a third of the UK’s total office workforce relocated to a more rural or suburban location in 2020, yet only 16% intend to return to a city.

Alexandra Brunner, Clockwise chief operating officer, says:

“The past year has highlighted the benefits of working from home but also how young people especially want to work in an office at least some of the time, highlighting the myriad of intangible benefits being in an office environment can bring.”

“The trend towards regionality, where people want to work and set up businesses has been a long time coming, and this has been hugely accelerated by the pandemic. These survey results vindicate our approach of focusing primarily on the cities outside of the usual business centres. So many places – from Exeter to Reading and many more – are emerging as specialist hubs, absolutely teeming with talent put off by major cities.”

“Of course, Covid has brought into sharp relief a need for flexibility, for new and innovative models, and for workers to have more choice in where they work. The concept of work is becoming far more decentralised, allowing businesses to operate efficiently from wherever their employees need. The fact that Gen Z in particular is seeking a different approach is hardly surprising – and given they are the future workforce, their preferences today will dictate how business operate in the future, they are definitely worth listening to.”

Some London based stats: (All Londoners, not just Gen Z’s)

· 40% of Londoners enjoy the regional and leisure facilities close to their work – compared to 31.74 % national average

· Almost half of Londoners (46%) believe they would have to take a salary reduction for a fully remote role – compared to 57% national average

· 81.21% of Londoners feel mental health support is an important factor when considering their future employment – compared to 81.54% national average

· 58.44% Londoners are currently working from home – compared to 53.78% national average

· 75.79% would be interested in a more localised satellite office approach which minimised time commuting into work – compared to 73.19% national average

· 54.5% of those in London who are currently working from home would prefer to be in an office

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