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Employers, staff don’t see eye-to-eye on remote work in the UK

remote work in the UK

New research has found that while most employees want flexible work, more than half of employers aren't willing to listen. (Photo by Y Boychenko on DepositPhotos)

While more than 90% of British employees say they want to work remotely at least some of the time going forward, 60% of British employers are actively trying to get staff back into the office. 

Globally, the issue of return-to-office (RTO) mandates has been an ongoing challenge and many employees have openly rebelled against such policies. After all, it’s no surprise that remote work is vastly popular amongst workers in the United Kingdom, United States and indeed most countries around the world. 

More than 90% of employees want either fully remote or hybrid work in the UK. (Photo by Andrew Lozovyi on DepositPhotos)

But only now, with new data from a Morgan McKinley study, has it become glaringly obvious just how wide the disparity is. 


Strong preference for remote work 

In its Global Workplace Guide, Morgan McKinley found that 93% of respondents in the UK “express a strong preference for continuing in a hybrid or remote work model.”

“The survey found that, in the UK, 1-2 days in the office is the favoured weekly working pattern for 52% of professionals, with a further 22% selecting 3-4 days. Only 3% are happy to be in the office for the full 5 working days,” the report noted. 

Even further, the survey found that more than half of employees in the UK would be willing to forgo a pay raise just so they could keep remote or hybrid work.

This isn’t the first time respondents have said something along these lines — but the last time this was a popular sentiment was closer to the middle of the pandemic, when employers were just beginning to urge staff to return to office. 

The fact that employees still appear to feel the same way even now, years later and after the government’s #Flexfrom1st legislation has been enacted, is a testament to just how much remote work has permanently changed the working landscape in the United Kingdom. 


Employers turn a blind eye

Unfortunately, not all employers are willing to see the light. This has already been clear with the RTO trend sweeping across major countries, but Morgan McKinley has put the disregard into stark detail. 

Employees who work in office 5 days per week are most likely to be looking for a new job. (Canva photo)

“Despite employee preferences, 56% of companies globally, and 60% of British companies, are urging staff to increase their in-office presence, indicating a disconnect between employer and employee expectations,” their report noted.


Job satisfaction affected

The disparity between remote work sentiment isn’t just a matter of personal preference but a serious challenge that can actually affect a company’s performance, retention and bottom line, Morgan McKinley cautioned in their report. 

“Professionals working in hybrid models express the highest contentment with their work patterns,” their report noted. “Our research also showed the potential attrition of employees, with 56% of respondents who work onsite five days a week being the ones most actively looking for a new job in the next six months compared to hybrid employees (41%) and fully remote employees (44%).”

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