Most UK workers willing to quit if pressured to return to office

In new research from HR consulting firm Randstad, the UK has emerged as one of the top 3 regions where staff are most likely to quit if their employer puts more pressure on them over increased office time. 

The study found that more than half of the region’s workers said they would be willing to walk off the job over increased office working, in results that seem fitting given the United Kingdom’s innovative new flexibility laws are on the verge of being enacted in just a few weeks’ time. 

It suggests that the UK might be one of the most progressive in the world when it comes to remote work and job flexibility, possibly standing as an example to countries in North America and elsewhere. 


“Ready to walk” over remote work 

remote work UK

The UK is one of the top 3 regions where workers are most willing to walk off the job over RTO. (Photo by Produtora Midtrack on Pexels)

According to Randstad, the 5 labour markets “most outspoken when it came to increased office working” were:

  1. India - 59%
  2. Australia - 56%
  3. United Kingdom - 55%
  4. Hong Kong SAR - 51%
  5. Austria & New Zealand (tied) - 50%

On a worldwide average, the firm found that more than half of most workers now consider job flexibility a “non-negotiable” — whether that’s remote work or other forms of flexibility such as flexible job hours or flexible locations. 

“Working from home is non-negotiable for more than half of workers (54%),” Randstad said in its 2024 Workmonitor, entitled “Ambition, equity and partnership.”

“Even more (55%) would consider quitting if they were forced to spend more time in the office.” 


Flex time is winning out

Additionally, Randstad found that while remote work encompassed a large share of that non-negotiable percentage, a slightly higher percentage of workers place more importance on flexible working hours.

remote work UK

Most Brits made lifestyle adjustments in anticipation that flexible work would continue. (Canva Stock Photo)

“There is a nuance when it comes to making their next career move: wanting flexible working hours edges slightly ahead of the need to work from home (46% vs 44%),” Randstad said.

In all cases, though, most people of working age have adjusted to the added work-life balance afforded by flexible work. Randstad noted that many have made lifestyle changes like getting a pet in anticipation of remote work and/or flexible work continuing for the foreseeable future.

It serves as a reminder for employers that remote work opportunities are crucial, but they are not the only form of flexible work that jobseekers and employees pay attention to. 

Particularly at a time when the high demand for remote work is driving recruitment trends not just in the UK but in most countries around the world, Randstad’s insights on remote work are invaluable.

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