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Just a quarter of UK office workers plan to return full-time

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
Just 19% of Brits in a survey said remote working has a detrimental effect to their productivity during the pandemic. Photo: Getty
Just 19% of Brits in a survey said remote working has a detrimental effect to their productivity during the pandemic. Photo: Getty

Only 25% of office workers in the UK plan on returning to their workplace on a full-time basis once normality returns, according to a study.

Digital coaching provider Ezra found that 46% of people felt they were as equally productive at home, while 35% stated they were even more productive than they were at the office.

Just 19% of Brits, in a survey of 2,175 office workers in the country, said remote working had a detrimental effect to their productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 22% said they would remain working from home full-time, with just over half of office workers planning to split their time and work part-time from the office.

77% of those surveyed said that remote working also made no difference to their career progression opportunities, while 8% stated it had actually increased the opportunity to progress. Just 15% thought it had reduced career progression.

“It seems that the way we work could change on a permanent basis, as many intend to keep some flavour of remote working even when normality returns,” Nick Goldberg, founder of Ezra, said.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the advances in technology can easily facilitate a productive working environment without the need for employees to travel to the same physical location.

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READ MORE: Why we should be allowed to request remote working from day one

“This certainly won’t be the case for every company or every sector and it’s important to note that technology can only play a limited role in the success of remote working. The need for a human influence to manage, motivate and evaluate is still pivotal but the right balance of both technology and human can be as successful, if not more so, than the conventional place of work.”

It comes after Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon rejected remote working as a “new normal” last week, labelling it as an “aberration”.

He said the investment bank had operated throughout 2020 with “less than 10% of our people” in the office, but that remote working does not suit the work culture at Goldman Sachs.

“I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible,” he said at a conference.

READ MORE: Brexit and COVID-19 pushes UK finance sector to cuts jobs and re-evaluate the need for offices long-term

It was also recently revealed that urban inequality is set to widen long after lockdown restrictions are eased thanks to remote working success in London compared to elsewhere in the country.

Findings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the world’s largest job site Indeed found that the remote-friendly professional sector could harm lower paid service industries.

Analysis of job postings on Indeed revealed that the share of jobs with remote working is 2.6 percentage points higher in London than the average around the UK. The company analysed job postings on its platform in the UK, Spain, France and Germany to assess how the number of job postings had changed since the pandemic.

A rise in high paying professional job opportunities in the capital came at the expense of lower paid service based ones, which rely on face-to-face contact with customers and have been decimated by coronavirus.

Londoners are significantly more likely than their counterparts outside the capital to work in jobs like tech, finance, law and marketing – roles that make it easier to work remotely.

The data also showed that London recorded uninterrupted growth in remote working jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, even when these jobs declined elsewhere in Britain.

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